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Is it wrong to end a relationship when you have dc and there's no abuse?

(58 Posts)
NancyDrewAPicture Wed 29-Apr-20 16:03:21

I've seen a couple of threads recently where posters have said how damaging it is for children and it's made me confused. I grew up in an abusive home and always told myself that I'd never stay with someone "for the sake of the children", but my partner is not abusive and our children will be devestated if we split up.

These are the reasons I want to leave:
I've felt unhappy and neglected for years. Starting with when DC was born. He encouraged me to give up my job, which I did and that was my choice but I was unhappy with the decision and regret it. Every time I mention looking for work he tells me I don't need to, we don't need the money (we don't). Pre-covid he was going to start WFH a few days a week. I asked him which days because on those days he told me he would be able to do school runs so I wanted to find work that would coordinate with that. He kept being vague and fobbing me off and again would say I don't need to worry about working. Not the end of the world, I could still look for a job and arrange childcare but his lack of cooperation and support frustrates me. Then covid happened and that's put that on hold for now.

Another reason I felt unsupported when first dc was born was his to refusal to help with housework. I was tired and recovering from a difficult birth, dc1 wasn't an easy baby, and I found it hard to keep on top of things. I suggested a rota and he swore at me (called me a c*nt, the only time he's used that word to me in our 13 year relationship) and we had a big argument and I dropped it. Nowadays he will load/unload the dishwasher and occasionally run the hoover around. He cooks for himself as he has special dietary requirements.

He has a huge amount of stuff. He will buy more stuff, like food, clothes, crockery, as well as gadgets and bits for himself, without checking if we have any in already or anywhere to put it. He has been stockpiling food and toiletries long before it was a thing, but out of laziness. I stopped putting his laundry away because I was sick of being the only one to do it. He bought more clothes rather than sort through his pile in the utility room. We moved to a bigger house four years ago and every available space is crammed with stuff. The sheer volume of things in the house gets me down. There just isn't room. I was in Sainsbury's last week looking a bowl imagining how nice it would be to live in a small, uncluttered house just me and dc, with a normal amount of crockery and a place for everything to be stored, rather than every cupboard overflowing and every shelf and available space being covered in crap.

We don't have an intimate relationship. He stopped initiating sex years ago. Then I had a relapse of a teenage eating disorder and he told me how unattractive I was, a lot. (His lack of interest began before that). Now I've put on some weight, he seems to find me attractive again but I hate the thought of sleeping with him. We don't kiss.

I think he's an irresponsible parent. He will let our DC (5 and 7) stay up late playing computer games or watching TV, then lose his temper if they're still awake at 2am and say they need medication. They aren't the best sleepers but obviously this would keep most kids awake. (This has happened when I've fallen asleep early).

That stuff aside, we get on ok, and he loves our dc and they him. We have a nice home. We even hold conversation sometimes these days (after years of him more or less ignoring me - not in a cold shoulder way, he was busy with work, golf and fishing in his free time and on his phone in bed). We can rub along fine mostly, though he can have a temper. I think he is happy. DC are happy. It's just me that's unhappy. I know some of the issues I've mentioned are quite trivial (housework and clutter) and some are my own fault (giving up my job, eating disorder). So should I suck it up, find a job and focus on that until the children are older? Truthfully I could carry on but I miss feeling wanted and loved, and I don't want him which I know is unfair on him.

OP’s posts: |
myangelalex Wed 29-Apr-20 16:48:24

Your first priority is a job to support yourself when you leave. Then look at divorce options. Your marriage just isn't working I'm afraid

sadonfriday Wed 29-Apr-20 16:57:44

He sounds horrible tbh

Treacletoots Wed 29-Apr-20 16:59:37

He's stopping you working, he doesnt do his fair share of housework, or parenting and when you ask him to, he calls you a cunt. He doesn't want to have sex with you, has belittled and insulted you when he knows you have an eating disorder.

Start realising that this is in fact, abuse. I guess when things just creep in, you don't notice just how toxic it really is.

Re read your post. Let it sink in. Now picture what you really want. Start getting your ducks in a row because you need to leave and ideally you'll do it on your own terms
flowers

Dery Wed 29-Apr-20 17:22:57

Neglect is a form of abuse.

The issues you've mentioned aren't trivial at all, actually. They're major. Discouraging you from working is a very effective way of controlling you because if you have your own money, it's gives you much greater independence. Also, it is depriving you of the fulfillment of having a job outside the home. I know that being an SAHP can be incredibly fulfilling - and SAHPs do any amazing job - but it really should be your choice. He's an irresponsible parent. He's lazy round the house (which he probably excuses to himself on the basis that he's kept you as an SAHP). He neglects you and says you're unattractive - that would be horrible any time but is particularly cruel when you are struggling with an eating disorder.

Sounds abusive to me even if it's not as bad as what you grew up with (and presumably it isn't as you would have recognised it for what it was).

Your DCs may love him but you deserve to be happy and they deserve a happy mother. They may not understand now why you need to leave but they will in the future if you need to explain it to them. And as long as you don't prevent them from seeing your H, they will still be able to spend time with him.

He will probably make things difficult for you, mind, so as PP have said: start getting your ducks in a row.

Scott72 Wed 29-Apr-20 17:28:01

He sounds like a hoarder. What happens if you offer to throw out stuff he never uses and has no value. Does he throw a fit?

BacklashStarts Wed 29-Apr-20 17:28:04

Sounds utterly shit and a pile of very good reasons to leave.

Inconnu Wed 29-Apr-20 17:29:10

He may not be abusive but I wouldn't stay married to him.

Imboredinthehouse Wed 29-Apr-20 17:52:33

Well he’s stopping you for getting a job and earning your own money so he’s very controlling, he’s called you unattractive & doesn’t pull his weight around the house. Staying with him and your children growing up thinking that’s normal behaviour is damaging tbh.
No, it’s not wrong to end a relationship when you are deeply unhappy.

Candyfloss99 Wed 29-Apr-20 17:56:14

To be honest he does sound controlling and abusive. You've listed way more than enough reasons to call it a day.

Fightingback16 Wed 29-Apr-20 17:58:22

You can do what you like, life is too short to be unhappy. This virus shows life can be taken in an instant so no point wasting it unhappy.

MrsDoylesTeaBags Wed 29-Apr-20 18:03:49

Its okay to end an unhappy marriage. When I was younger I probably wouldn't have said that but life is short and children are resilient as long as they still have a relationship with the both of you they will survive, but what you are describing is a relationship that is becoming increasingly toxic and that will effect them.

Interestingly I'm currently reading a book where one of the main characters is a horder and how it damages their relationships and so much of what you have described rings true for this character too.

willowmelangell Wed 29-Apr-20 18:18:56

He really does sound controlling. Getting yourself into work does seem like a very good idea. His poor parenting does sound lazy.
I am just going to ask. You mention his need for 'stuff'. If you were to point to (say) 3 fishing tackle boxes, and offer to sell two, how would
he react? Easy going, yeah sure no problem or would he be alarmed, on edge, panicky?
You sound so very different to each other.

IPityThePontipines Wed 29-Apr-20 19:08:55

It reads like you don't like him anymore and with good reason. It would be absolutely ok to end the relationship for those reasons.

opticaldelusion Wed 29-Apr-20 19:09:50

So he doesn't support your need to work, he won't help with the housework, he tells you you're unattractive and he shouts at the kids. But he's not at all abusive and he's a lovely person. Ok then.

mamato3lads Wed 29-Apr-20 19:12:02

I echo what @opticaldelusion said

Come on OP. That's no way to live.

Baseline2815 Wed 29-Apr-20 19:15:07

You can leave for any reason you like... you are an adult and free to marry or divorce as you see fit. I am sure you will do the best you can for your dc with or without being married to their dad.

That said... you have good reasons to leave!! Honestly, get that divorce. Good luck.

NancyDrewAPicture Wed 29-Apr-20 19:16:56

You sound so very different to each other.

That's interesting. I've never thought about whether we are different or not. I'm really not a neat freak at all and am fine with everyday mess but I have limits. We are very different parents that's for sure to our dc that's for sure.

He's offered to get a cleaner in more recent years when I've said things about the house. I genuinely am one of those people who quite enjoys cleaning, though I'm sure I'd appreciate the help if I was working full time, but cleaning is really not the issue, it's the clutter.

I do need to get back into work. My confidence is quite low but I have to do it. He hasn't outrightly said no, he's just always been unhelpful and discouraging. When we first got together he didn't like me going out. He told me that when you're in a relationship you shouldn't want to be out with your friends, you should want to be at home.

Going for dinner or meeting friends to go around a market or a museum or something was generally ok, but if they suggested going for drinks or dinner (if dinner wasn't what we had gone out for), then my anxiety would shoot up high. I'd call him up to let him know but it was more to gauge his reaction. I'd always be rushing home before everyone else. I gradually lost contact with most of them and the couple I'm still in touch with live too far away to see. One night I was out with work and we went to a casino, and it ended up being me and just two male colleagues. It wasn't planned out to be me and two men, and nothing happened. I wasn't intending to cheat on him and never did. He was so angry at me on the phone when he found out, I cried in the toilets, I was so embarrassed to be in such a state in front of colleagues and trying to come up with an excuse about what was wrong because I didn't want to say it was him. I went to my parents house that night. I wish I'd stayed and never gone back to him back then, but it's too late now. That's the only time I've ever done anything like that (not gone home to him I mean) and he was apologetic afterwards. When I got my next job I turned down all work night out invites and didn't really get to know anyone. He says he wouldn't be like that if I went out now, but as I have no friends and no work colleagues to go out with I will never know. Maybe that is why he's always been funny about me wanting a job.

OP’s posts: |
NancyDrewAPicture Wed 29-Apr-20 19:20:21

How would he react if I offered to sell his stuff - Tbh his "stuff" that causes the most problems to me are not things I could sell. Kitchen stuff including food, cooking gadgets (some of these would be fine but there's no storage space left) and crockery. At one stage we couldn't put all the plates and mugs away. We had to always have some in the dishwasher or sink, there just wasn't space in the cupboards. This resolved itself by some things breaking/me "accidentally" breaking things when he wasn't around. (I know that's bad and I should have donated them somewhere).

Bathroom things, for instance we use different shower gels, he will never finish a bottle of his, he will buy a new bottle before the last one ends, he will not finish that, he will buy a new bottle before the next one ends, then he might see a new brand he likes the look of so he'll buy that. He'll have all the half used/nearly empty bottles lining the bath at all times. Even once in a blue moon that he finished a bottle, he'll leave the empty bottle there. He does the same with food items, buying new and not finishing the old. Buying things we have already rather than look through the cupboard.

And then the other stuff is bits of electrics. I don't know what it's all for, but he's always buying bits of cable and battery parts and soldering iron etc and he does stuff with it. If I ask him to put it away he puts it in carrier bags and puts the bag in an already very full cupboard or on top of the wardrobe or somewhere and it will stay there for however long, but some of the electric stuff he does use. In the lock down he's spending most of his free time doing something with it. Our dining room has been covered in electrical stuff for a week and he spends most of his free time in there doing whatever he does.

Sorry that's long, but that's the main hoarding stuff. Oh and toys for the DC. He will never get rid of their old toys, not because he's sentimental or anything, he's just lazy. But he buys them a lot. One of our dc really liked his scooter for example, so he now has four scooters courtesy of his father. I'm worried about them being spoilt tbh and don't get them very much myself because a. They have loads and b. We don't have room. So he gets to be the fun dad who buys them cool stuff, let's them stay up late watching TV and I'm the one who says no and switches things off. I can live with that though.

OP’s posts: |
NancyDrewAPicture Wed 29-Apr-20 19:26:08

So he doesn't support your need to work, he won't help with the housework, he tells you you're unattractive and he shouts at the kids. But he's not at all abusive and he's a lovely person. Ok then

Hmm well he's not a lovely person but he does love the dc and possibly me. I didn't think he was abusive. He hasn't phsyically stopped me from working or told me that I can't. Although he didn't make it easy I can't blame him. I'm going to change that though.

OP’s posts: |
NancyDrewAPicture Wed 29-Apr-20 19:31:39

Sorry I've ranted there. I know I need to leave. I wanted to know that it was ok. I had a plan. Find a job, get out. I just got confused when I saw people saying it's better to try and make things work for the DC because I've only said the bad things here. It isn't a constant battlefield at home. Most of the days go by without event. And if I bit my tongue more then I don't think we'd argue, so it could work if I tried.

OP’s posts: |
Lostvoiced Wed 29-Apr-20 19:35:02

No, dont stay for the kids.
Kids need to see models of healthy, loving relationships.
Good luck with your plans to leave. flowers

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 29-Apr-20 19:38:40

It's only not a constant battlefield because you're walking on eggshells, bending the things you want around the things he wants.

If you bit your tongue less what would happen? (Although please don't do this while you're locked down together).

I never bite my tongue. I have open and honest conversations with my DH about the things that are important to me. When we clash, we compromise. But I never have to bite my tongue to keep the peace.

He's horrible. He's controlling. I think that is abuse, but even if you disagree, you are miserable and unhappy. You don't have to stay like that.

littlefawn Wed 29-Apr-20 19:47:09

Ok so he actually sounds a tiny bit like my DH though my DH not on the same scale, hoarding, clutter, control. He obviously has issues.
DH and I actually broke up when we were engaged because I was so unhappy with his behaviour and he simply did not recognise it.... however we did get back together and since then we had many honest conversations and I became a lot more dominant, basically put my foot down.

It depends what type of person you are, how controlling etc he is, would he be willing to change his behaviour, have you had honest open conversations about it, is it even possible?

DH and I have a fantastic relationship now but it sounds as though you've dealt with this for a long time, my advice is tell him things need to change, at least you can say you tried

aufaitaccompli Wed 29-Apr-20 19:49:49

Oh Nancy.

And if I bit my tongue more then I don't think we'd argue, so it could work if I tried

That's where my thinking was with my ex. Still is to a certain extent. My worry is that you are unable to be yourself. I know I was.

It's sobering to read that you think it's down to you to try. I believed that too. But you can't do the work of two people. It's impossible. I made myself quite ill just from trying and trying and trying.

He has to want to change, to work with you, otherwise your relationship is likely dead in the water.

Oh and ex told me I'd let myself go after the birth of our second child. Sex life was non existent. He called me names once or twice as well. So I hear you and I relate so so much.

Please put you and the children first. Think carefully re work as it may be better to look for a job when you are mentally sorted, then again, if you're not in a mad rush...

Please don't hang on and on in the hope it'll get better without some concrete deadlines, success markers. Don't be me and let yourself be fobbed off by vague promises, denials the works.

You are stronger than you think flowers

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