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Deciding to go

(102 Posts)
TotheLaunchBay Thu 16-May-19 13:09:22

Hi, I'm trying to decide whether to leave my husband. I feel like this is such an old story on relationships but I really want to talk about it so here goes...

I'm 42, we've been married for 12 years. We have 2 DCs age 3 and 7. DS2 starts school in September which is a worry as he is being assessed for possible ASD and I think that his start at school will be quite rocky.

We have had sex once since DS2 was born. I occasionally try to initiate it but DH is always too tired.

DH is not terrible in lots of ways. He does wash up, empty and load the dishwasher, looks after most of the bills and sometimes vaccums and changes the sheets on our bed without being asked (thinking about those "mental load" cartoons). He is also supporting us financially at the moment. So he isn't a complete waste and sometimes I think that I just have unrealistic expectations.

We both worked in similar jobs- we are both NHS hospital consultants and before children we both worked in acute areas. He hasn't been willing to change his working pattern at all and also will not accept us having a nanny so I do all the school dropoffs and pickups. He also refuses to look after the DCs (particularly DS2) at weekends so I've had to stop doing on call. He did used to look after DS1 but would make a point of how awful it was for him and I would often be setting off for work having just been told things like "I'm in a situation that I can't stand, this is intolerable".
This has had a massive impact on my career- I was clinical lead for my department and training lead for our region in my specialty when I got pregnant. I gave these up when I went on mat leave and have gradually taken less and less prestigious roles to try to get a job that allows me to work while also dropping off at 8 and picking up at 5.30.
I find it really humiliating at work when there is an evening meeting or something in the morning before 9 and I can't get to it because I have no childcare. DH refuses to talk about other childcare options and says that it is impossible for him to have a day when he does drop-off or pick up because it would be "unprofessional".

DH has only taken 2 weeks of annual leave in the school holidays this year. He wouldn't talk to me about this, or even tell me what leave he'd taken for weeks and I ended up emailing his secretary to get a copy of his rota so I could find out when he would be about.

We have a holiday booked in a month's time and he will not talk about it at all- he says that he is in denial about it which I find really hurtful (he finds the idea of spending time with us so awful that he can't think about it).

He has also been agreeing to do things and then backing out- we were going to go skiing with his parents and after we'd talked to them, agreed a week and I'd spent ages looking at the best options he said that he wouldn't be able to stand it so I had to ring them and say that we had decided against it. The same thing happened last summer with him agreeing to us getting guinea pigs and a trampoline- he agreed to it and then after I'd told the DCs and we'd measured up and looked at the best guinea pig houses he decided that the garden had "too much crap" in it already and that we couldn't do it.

I am sure that people will be reading this and thinking that I'm being really wet- just buy the damn trampoline FFS but he gets so withdrawn that it just isn't worth the effort.

I am kind of a SAHM at the moment. My dad had a very serious accident about 2 years ago and spent 18 months in hospital. I couldn't manage doing all the school runs and seeing my dad (DH never once looked after the DCs so I could visit) and work, so I am on unpaid carer's leave and I'm due to go back to work in September. I feel like this has made the power imbalance between us much worse.

DH will not socialise with my family and tries not to see his parents (I've been to visit them with the boys but he doesn't come). I regularly take the boys away for the weekend. When he comes we often have what I think is a really good time, but he has told me that he's faking it and he hates it.

He also says that I'm very controlling but I feel like he is. He told me recently that I get everything that I want and I just didn't know what to say.

I feel like all he ever wants me to do is to take the children out do that he can have the house to himself. He says that he feels like a spare part when they are here and that he feels driven out of the house and that he can't concentrate on anything.

The thing is, he is supporting us. He will read to the DC and I'm hoping that as DS2 gets older he will be more confident with him.

I hope that I can get back to work and he will respect me a bit more and be nicer to me, but I also feel like it's very hard for me to work properly when I have to arrive late and leave early and can't do on call.

At the top of my long post I said that he would change the sheets without being asked. Just typing that made me feel a bit nervous at the idea of asking him- he'd do it himself but would hate me asking him.

He tells me that I'm controlling and that he tries not to give an opinion in case it's wrong but then sulks and mutters to himself so I spend all my time trying to guess what he wants. If I challenge him on it he stands with his hands behind his back and says that he's trying not to provoke me, but he refuses to talk to me.

I don't want a divorce, I want to have a husband who wants to spend time with us and who I can talk to without walking on eggshells trying not to say the wrong thing.

I just don't know what to do.

Thank you

Sally2791 Sun 19-May-19 07:27:25

My ex was and still is very controlling, but has perfected the art of turning it round onto me, sounds like your H is similar. Honestly it's all about their selfishness, he is only interested in preserving his own world whatever the cost to you and your DCs.
You mentioned that you previously had low self esteem and thought no one would marry you. He has exploited that.
Please stop thinking about him,how he will feel or react and think about yourself and creating a happy relaxed atmosphere for your children. He sounds as though he has some major issues, you've tried to help,he hasn't engaged so leave him to it. You can't fix him.
Divorce can be difficult and stressful but surely not as bad as living as you are. He is exploiting you to live as he wants. Stop enabling him and start living a new happy life.

Moffa Sun 19-May-19 06:34:34

@tothelaunchbay do not feel guilty about potentially having help from your family - take it!

Since the kids & I moved out we’ve been living with my parents. I couldn’t afford to rent and it was my only option. I know I’m so lucky they were ready & willing to help. I’m hoping once I get divorced I will be able to thank them properly.

Like you I had thought about leaving for years - I marked days in my diary where he didn’t even see the children. Turned out it was most days.....

By the way, it might be worth seeking some therapy with an ASD trained therapist. I had a referral from my GP and have seen a wonderful therapist who has really helped give me coping strategies and rebuild my self esteem etc. Plus it’s been great to have a totally safe place to talk about things that have happened.

If you do leave, be prepared for you and the DC to suddenly become a special interest to your H. He will not like the change in routine or that you are not in your box. My therapist has pointed out all these things before they have happened and it’s been helpful to know what might come next!

Anyway - talk to your mum if you can. Get help! X

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 21:14:18

Blimey. Do not beat yourself up about not leaving sooner. We all know life is not black and white. It takes a long time to leave someone. A really long time.
9/10 not leaving isn’t about money. It’s fear, obligation, guilt.
Thinking it’s ok.
Boiling frog.
Thinking you can make it better. That’s the key one! You can take years thinking you can make it better.
All of those things.

You are a kind empathetic person. We all know it’s not as simple as LTB. But you have to start putting yourself first.

TotheLaunchBay Sat 18-May-19 20:52:52

Justbreathing- yes, I've read and read and read the thread about the woman in France. It's part of what made me start this conversation.

I have been making a mark on the calendar for every day that I've thought "I can't live like this, I want a divorce". I've realised that the days that don't have a mark are the days when he leaves the house before we get up and gets home after the boys are asleep.

Bouncy dog, I do think that DS1 is trying to be a Dad some of the time. We 3 went on a little children's day out today and most people were there with a preschooler and 2 parents. I remembered doing it when DS1 was 3 and feeling really sad for him looking at the dads playing with their sons (mostly sons it's a train thing). I didn't have that feeling at all for DS2 as he has his brother who is the apple of his eye.

I was also having a chat with a teacher at DS's school she said how DS1 is "always so responsible and grown up". She meant it as a compliment but it made me feel terrible.

I am working towards going for a divorce when I get back to work in September.

I do think that it will be easier when I'm getting paid BUT It has been occuring to me reading how bad other people see this as that either my mum or my brother could afford our mortgage and living expenses for a few months until I got on my feet.
I haven't been talking to my mum about relationship things because it's been so awful for her after my dad's accident that she's really been needing support rather than able to give it. But she told me today that she and my dad are going to fund a thing for the women's refuge where she volunteers (haha yes I know) that is going to cost thousands of pounds and that as they haven't been anywhere or done anything since dad's accident they've been saving a lot of money.

I'd rather do it independently and I do think that I can. Also I don't know how it would alter finances after divorce if my mum was paying the mortgage.
I also don't want to worry my mum, (I could probably get divorced without any of grandparents realising although I'm not going to do that obvs).

I'm just thinking out loud really.

And it must be very irritating to people to hear me say that I could ask my mum when I know that some people are just not able to leave when they can't afford it.

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 19:54:40

Those websites were quite scary. No one should have to live their life like that.
I don’t care if being autistic is horrible for the person who has it. No person should ever be treated like that

bouncydog Sat 18-May-19 19:46:13

I’m so sad for you and your children. You deserve so much more and wont be any worse off on your own. You will get your life and your career back. Your poor little 7 year old has already realised his dad isn’t interested and is trying to take on his role. Explore your options, but please put yourself and your children first. Life is for living and by the sounds of it his parents will be a good source of support once they know what’s going on. Your husband does sound depressed but because of his job feels he doesn’t need help. Good luck.

AmaryllisNightAndDay Sat 18-May-19 19:12:45

Just from your first post, I'd also say there are two family members on the autism spectrum. Like son, like father. This is not a reason to stay. Go, and have a normal happy life. You DH needs to deal with who he is in his own way, in denial or with acceptance, up to him. You will be able to support your DS so he understands his own issues and he will do much better in life than his father.

for diagnosis it would have to have significant impact on his life and it doesn't

Losing his wife because of his rigidity counts as significant impact. So does being unable to enjoy (or think about or stand!) a family holiday or even a weekend away. So does being permanently too tired to have sex. So does not wanting to go to any social events. So does being traumatised by the thought of putting a trampoline in the garden. So does feeling like a spare part with his children. They all count.

And it's not just the impact it's having on him that matters. There's the impact on you, and on the chidlren, and the way that you are having to protect the children from the impact. Even your older DC is trying to protect his sib. That counts too, though your DH may be taking the words "significant impact on his life" too literally realise it.

I've thought autism traits, depression as well.

Poorly managed autism (autism which sounds to me a lot more profound than either he or you have realised) is very likely to lead to depression.

I'm autistic and wouldn't behave like OP's DH in a billion years.

Sure, but it is how her DH is dealing (or failing to deal) with his own autism that's the problem. For starters, you know and fully accept that you have autism. He doesn't.

It's not a reason to stay though. OP do take a look at those websites.


Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 19:10:06

And yes. Just order the trampoline.

Justbreathing Sat 18-May-19 19:09:42

I wondered if you had read the thread about the woman in France.
Honestly your initial post shocked me.
Really shocked me.
And I’m just a stranger on the internet.

And what you said about your 7 yr old just made me feel very sad.

As someone else said. It’s the boiling frog scenario. And you keep quite and do anything to keep the peace. So these things become normal.
They are not normal.

MoreProseccoNow Sat 18-May-19 19:08:52

Jesus, OP - that sounds awful.

He isn't meeting your needs, or that of your children.

Have a read up on co-dependency.

And plan your escape.

klendraa Sat 18-May-19 18:51:28

Why don’t you try out separation ?

TotheLaunchBay Sat 18-May-19 18:44:01

Thank you everyone. I've spent the afternoon googling trampolines and guinea pig hutches. I just need to translate that into speaking out loud (may just order the trampoline).

Moffa Sat 18-May-19 15:38:09

@tothelaunchbay my heart raced with adrenaline when I first read those articles too.

I once asked my H for Jo Malone perfume for my birthday and I have had the same gift every year since (I posted about it here before).

Last year he totally ruined so many events, my 40th Birthday, Christmas, Fireworks night, Holidays. Now I realise he has Aspergers and these were all things outside his ‘routine’ and safe zones so in effect they were triggering for him and no wonder he had tantrums. But I have young DC too and I don’t want to have to worry about his mood whenever I invite people over or organise fun things.

Different Together is a good website with forums for people within these types of relationships. It depends on if you want to stay and learn how to cope together or leave. Good luck OP xx

Corna Sat 18-May-19 10:28:49

I know he must have his good points op, and I am sorry if I sound harsh. I feel like I can see the picture of your life but you have accepted it as normal. The point for me re his work is that he is working so many hours with no input from you about if that is acceptable for you all as a family, and that translates into the trampoline thing, he makes the decisions that you just have to live with. I really wish you the best op, whatever you decide. Please keep your eyes open financially and safety wise.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 20:31:18

Wow Moffa. Those articles really gave me a chill. Lots of things look very familiar.

The thing about presents- DH was getting me a jo malone bath oil set for Christmas every year, after one year when I'd asked for one. I pointed out that they weren't getting used as the only bath in the house is ensuite to DS2's room.
That year he got me a cake tin in the shape of a dog and a new mop bucket. This wasn't a joke or a dig, he was obviously very pleased that he'd got such good gifts.

But also the thing about not telling people because it's so far outside what people expect. I'm absolutely fed up of being invited out by friends and having to say no because I have no childcare- it is really socially isolating. I also recognize the part about not disrupting the routine- ds1 loves having friends over after school and I carefully manage this to make sure that DH is at work. I then tidy up the mess from playing before he gets in.

DS really wanted a Halloween party at our house. I managed to arrange it when DH was on call, so I had 8 x 6 and 7 year olds and my ASD 3 yo by myself because it would be easier than trying to do party games when DH was there. He came home after the boys were in bed when I was taking down the decorations and I really had to say "do not tell me off about the decorations because I am too tired".

StreetDreams Fri 17-May-19 19:41:12

I do hate the autistic = selfish stereotype though. I'm autistic and wouldn't behave like OP's DH in a billion years.

elsabadogigante Fri 17-May-19 19:39:30

I really hope no one ever takes up with his son and he never has kids because he's a nightmare to live with.

Moffa Fri 17-May-19 19:37:14

I haven’t read the whole thread but read the first page. Apologies if this has been posted. Sounds like Aspergers.

I’ve recently left mine. He has many good traits (loyal, hardworking) but I can’t live without love, affection, kindness and care. He is a terrible father to our gorgeous DC. He is currently undergoing a diagnosis but I am sure already and based on that I know he cannot and will not change.

Best of luck to you OP. It’s not easy, but hopefully whatever you decide is for the best x

MrMagooo Fri 17-May-19 19:25:40

Tell him straight how you feel and what you expect to change and wait for his response.

You have rights in this relationship too, he has taken away your rights and decision making slowly but surely.

I'm siding on Autistic too. Before children he was free to do all the things he wanted and now this has been taken away it doesn't seem like he's adapted and has expected you to sacrifice while he doesn't have too.

Either way he's behaving in an incredibly selfish way and you need to highlight this. If he won't change then you either accept it, make your own decisions laterally about stuff like he is, ignore the sulking and things, stuff for the kids and you build a life with them on your own whether you are with him or not.

It's no way to live really and I do empathise with you but you have options and you don't have to live out the rest of your life like this.

moonbubble Fri 17-May-19 18:37:30

He sounds autistic to me too. My husband is undiagnosed and he is very difficult and controlling without realising it. Everything is about him. Sounds very stressful and unfair on you.

YetAnotherThing Fri 17-May-19 16:19:43

He’s a bully. He needs to do 50% of drop off/pick ups in order to contemplate a veto on it. You’re in the same profession, if not specialty, so how on earth can he say it’s unprofessional of him to be late but not you. Also if you split he has them Every other weekend etc (and you can freely do on calls!)

He doesn’t respect you , and I honesty think you’d start feeling mentally so much better apart from him. Go back to work - maybe start PT and when confidence back, get back on the rota and doing challenging bits of your role. On the days you have childcare ‘ignore’ the kids (they’ll be fine with a nanny and remember that He’ll be having them too).
I would rarely say LTB but honestly here, yes.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 16:19:33

Yes thank you Hobosno.
It was actually reading the thread here about the woman in France with the DH sulking on holiday that made me think "oh. That sounds familiar".
I don't know. I do feel that I've been ?foolish/stupid/lazy?? but I don't think that our situation is worse than sleeping on the streets.

Hobosno Fri 17-May-19 16:09:56

It’s the boiling a frog thing isn’t it. You don’t notice how badly you are being treated at first, it adds up degree by degree until you’re boiled.

TotheLaunchBay Fri 17-May-19 16:02:31

Ukgift I'm not sure if you've typed that correctly? "OP sounds happy with it".
I'm literally on a relationship thread talking about whether I should get a divorce. I really don't take this lightly- I am lonely and worried about the DCs and trying to work out the best plan. I also work very hard trying to make sure that the boys have a good time, try to protect them and look after them, make them feel secure and loved.
If I was happy with it then I wouldn't have started the thread.

This isn't AIBU.
I do think that it is better to plan and do it properly.

elsabadogigante Fri 17-May-19 15:59:19

Deciding to go? I'd have left this guy the second he expected my career to take a hit to enable his because he CBA'd to do his share of childcare or outsource it.

My son is only young but has ASD and tbh, the most heartbreaking thing about it is that he is a very unpleasant person to live with, there are precious few positives to his personality.

I'd get out away from this man even if meant I had to sleep on the street.

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