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Trapped at home(7 Posts)
I’m just after some advice, reassurance, anything really because I just feel so lonely at the moment. Been with hubby for 12 years, married for 8 and have 2 children, 7 and 5.
In the very early days, everything was fine - good even. We got on well, laughed together, had similar values and the sex was good. It was never mind blowingly rip your clothes off passionate or anything but it was good - did the job. After about a year however, cracks started to show. Sex became less frequent and I started to not want it - I wanted to want it but just never felt that lust for him. I used to do it on a regular basis before the guilt became too much to bear. Whenever he asked why I didn’t want sex I would say that I didn’t know, that I didn’t want it with anyone and that I wanted to want it. In hindsight I know that I didn’t lose my libido, I just didn’t have the lust for him.
I remember the night before our wedding, worrying about being with the same person for the rest of my life and thinking “well if it doesn’t work out, I can always divorce him”. I never should have been thinking that the night before our wedding but I suppose that shows that I’ve never been truly happy with him. He’s a nice man, intelligent, kind, considerate - all the things I should want. The things I thought I did want. But recently, I am realising that those things aren’t enough.
Even with the fact that he’s great on paper, he is so boring! He has no friends, never goes out (even before lockdown), is really quite introverted and only likes socialising with a very select (and small) number of people, he makes socialising with my family seem like a chore and makes me feel bad for wanting to do it. I on the other hand am very outgoing and sociable, when we got together I feel like I had to hide or at least contain that side of my personality. I started going out and socialising less and less, which lead me to start feeling anxious when I was going out. In reality I love socialising - spending time with friends and family makes me truly happy and he is so needy that he somehow manages to make me feel guilty for going out (either with the kids and friends or on my own with friends). He claims that he doesn’t want to make me feel guilty but is always so miserable when I do. I would take him with me but he makes it seem like a chore and is constantly on the lookout for when we can go home.
I feel like I’ve never been able to be 100% myself around him and it’s getting to me more and more. We’ve not had sex for way over a year - the thought of it now leaves me cold. I have no desire to spend time alone with him and find times when he takes an expanse of time off from work so difficult (Christmas and holidays) that I find myself literally counting down the days until we go back to work. I have been feeling this way for such a long time now, I honestly don’t remember the last time I felt truly happy and comfortable in his company but COVID has obviously made the issues so much more apparent.
Before lockdown was announced, the prospect of this extended time with him had me in sheer panic. I was literally sick with worry over the whole situation and I have honestly found it every bit as difficult as I expected to. I keep finding myself fantasising about how it would be if he wasn’t here, about getting a divorce and actually allowing myself to be me and to live my life. I am so miserable in this marriage but I don’t know if I can rip my children’s lives apart for my selfishness. It would devastate them. I just can’t imagine making them leave their home, making them live a lower quality of life and not seeing them everyday because I’m not feeling fulfilled in my life. My youngest is already struggling terribly with this lockdown and is very anxious, I am sure me leaving their father would make things even worse and the effects would last a long time. I just don’t know what to do - I’m so trapped and even more so in this lockdown.
I’m so sorry you are going through this. I don’t really have any advice except to say that your children would not be forever scarred if you did leave. I called time on my relationship after 12 years because I didn’t want to spend another 12 years unhappy and resent eachother. Our kids are fine, well adjusted people, we are good friends now and co-parent well.
Have you actually spoken to your husband about how you feel?
I have tried but I just feel like I’m always in the wrong.
He always turns it back with “I do everything for you and the kids, why aren’t you happy?” He’s always quite whiny and needy when he says it too - just really puts me off having any conversations like this.
He has a history of depression and but won’t ever admit that he’s not the happiest, or most engaging person to be around. Because he has no real interest or friendships outside of the home it has always made me feel like I am responsible for his happiness. Even in the early days if I was a bit down or annoyed (not even with him), he would take it really personally and say I was making him feel bad. I am the type of person to feel emotions very strongly but I’ve had to hide that part of myself because it’s not worth the additional pouting from him if I was already not feeling my best. Basically, if I admit I’m not happy, it’s all on me but I am also responsible for him being unhappy then as well.
What do you get out of this relationship now?.
If anyone is being selfish here it is your H primarily. You are not responsible for another person's happiness; only your own. Its not your fault he is the ways he is and you did not make him that way either. Have a look at his parents OP; one or both of them probably act like this as well and if so its learnt behaviour on his part.
He won't change also because on some level this works for him.
Why do you think he has no friends?.
What has he done to address any depression; has he actually been to see the GP re this or is he really using that as an excuse or cover to abuse and otherwise mistreat you and in turn your children.
When marriages are angry, conflicted, or terribly mediocre, parents often default to staying together for the purported sake of the children. As children grow older, they tend to replicate relationships similar to what their parents modeled. As parents we’d never say we want our children to suffer or struggle in their relationships. Yet that’s the greater likelihood. It’s not what we say, but what we do that matters. Telling our children they deserve healthy, respectful, and loving partnerships isn’t taken to heart if we don’t have the courage to live up to our own words. What we model for them is very much what we might expect for them in their future relationships.
Your children are also not the arbiters of your relationship, you two as their parents are and what are you both teaching them about relationships here?. Is this really the model you want to be showing them?. You describe your relationship in very poor terms; you want such a crap and a loveless marriage to be their norm too?. No you would not and its not good enough for you either. It is much more challenging to come to terms with our own circumstances and face our fears than it is to hide behind them.
Divorce is not failure but living in unhappiness is. Divorce, in and of itself, need not be harmful to children. It is the adversarial and contentious process of divorce, if continued, that may wreak damage. Yet research indicates that most children adapt to their new circumstances within a few years. Having two parents successfully move forward with their lives teaches an invaluable lesson: that we deserve to be happy and to feel loved. Conversely, remaining in relationships that perpetuate anger, devaluation, and lack of positive interactions leaves an indelible scar on children.
Thanks Atilla - I appreciate your directness.
You’re right, his father is exactly the same and I suppose that seeing my husband turn into him as he gets older is what is making the alarm bells ring louder and louder.
Other than financially, I don’t get any benefit from the relationship - it’s certainly not making me happy. Before anyone shoots me down, I will happily support myself and my kids but I need to work out how/where we would live if I leave. I don’t want them to have to change schools or not be able to do their after school activities (when normality resumes).
He has friends in work but spends no time with them outside of work. Therefore all responsibility for human interaction and relationships falls to me - it’s exhausting. I have family and friends I am close to and want to spend time with but he’s not interested in anything outside of the immediate family unit.
He went to GP and went on antidepressants for a short while but nothing really improved, I’ve suggested counselling or exercise (he could do with it) but that fell on deaf ears. I wouldn’t say he was clinically depressed now - it’s more that he’s just not sociable and enjoys not doing anything.
Thanks so much for addressing my fears regarding the perception of failure and my worries towards my children. You are right if they were asking me for advice, I would tell them they deserve more. It’s just hard to admit that to yourself.
It’s going to be tough, but you will all be ok. X
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