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Would you leave this marriage?

(31 Posts)
HaggisBurger Sun 24-May-20 15:07:24

I have very strong feelings that I want to leave my marriage of 19 years - 3 kids ages between 12&17- but wonder am I insane to want to do so.

I know no one can answer this but me (really) but interested in others’ views. Particularly interested anyone else who has left a “good enough” marriage and regretted it.

Background - our getting together in early 20s was always like a friendship really. There are lots of reasons why I accepted this at the time - but essentially no real passion or sexual attraction (although I did find him attractive). I’m going to split into pros and cons and try and be honest about both.

Pros -
-Kind good-hearted man
- Works hard, financially astute and not controlling with money
- on same page parenting wise most of the time
- we laugh together a fair bit and enjoy similar music, tv & film
- keeps himself fit
- would be highly highly unlikely to ever cheat
- good Dad

CONS
- any sex in relationship has always been initiated by me and up until quite recently we hadn’t had sex for 6 years (no health reasons why)
- any attempts to “solve” or get help on this he agrees to then does nothing (head in sand)
- my unhappiness around lack of physical & emotional intimacy he decides is me being depressed (I’m in therapy now and told I’m
Unhappy not depressed).
- refuses to do any personal development work on himself or enter relationship / sex therapy with me
- has become very right wing & dogmatic / rigid on views on certain things like Brexit and Covid and bangs on endlessly about these to other people / me and talks over other people / me. My eldest has noticed this. It’s very unattractive and depressing
- can drink quite a lot but not problematically per se-, but it increases the single track conversation. I don’t enjoy nights out with him due to it
- very resistant to change / travelling to new places (which I like)
- very much wants me to get involved in HIS hobbies but not open to trying thins I enjoy (we have very different interests)
- now very resentful of the joint decision we made when pregnant with first child for me to give up work and suggests it was an easy ride for me (despite fact I worked PT / studied for all this time ) had no help from him mon-fri, no family at all, and weekends he always played golf and gone for at least 5/6hrs
- I now bitterly regret giving up my well paid career outside the home as have no real financial independence tho don’t regret being able to be at home a lot for kids one of whom has additional needs

Really it’s the lack of sex and emotional intimacy that’s the killer for me. In fairness he knows things are in the balance and has made an effort in the bedroom. BUT we spent so long living like brother and sister that it’s just hugely ick for me and I have never found what little sex we had in any way satisfying. I feel it might all just be too late as we didn’t even start with sexual passion. He is trying though and doesn’t want the marriage to end.

I feel like my options are:
End the marriage and all the heartbreak that entails for our kids particularly and hope to find passion, sexual fulfilment and a partnership more based on more open view of life & it’s possibilities - but I should be prepared to be on my own and risk regretting it

OR stay - and accept that a marriage based on friendship & co-parenting is enough. Risk regretting a life not fully lived? My mum stayed in a marriage where her needs were unmet and she died aged 58 of cancer. I always wished she’d left and enjoyed more of life. But my Dad was much “worse” than my DH. So much more clear cut.

Thoughts welcome

OP’s posts: |
zovir Sun 24-May-20 15:11:46

There is a third choice: be on your own. This for me has been the most fun, I have a number of lovers but no partnership as such (my choice) and I couldn't be happier

HaggisBurger Sun 24-May-20 15:14:46

Thanks Zovir. I guess for me I’d rather stay with him as friends then if that makes sense. The only reason to leave is lack of emotional / physical intimacy which I wouldn’t get on my own. I would want to be on my own for a good while though to begin with. I’m glad you’re happy though end getting your needs met smile

OP’s posts: |
Torres10 Sun 24-May-20 15:58:21

I could have written your post almost word for word!
I am currently of the view it's better to go it alone and take my chances, however difficult the interim is going to be!
We only get one chance at life and I want to take the chance that maybe I will be more satisfied out of the relationship than in it. Also staying in the relationship means you d
are accepting the status quo for ever..is that ok for you?
One slight idiosyncrasy in my situation is I ran into an old work colleague a few months back, just casual catch up chatting, when I went to leave he kissed me goodbye..and I mean really kissed me..said he had always wanted to do that..honestly I'd forgotten what passion felt like and just for brief second I remembered..now I know what I am missing, it's hard to accept half measures!

Qwerty543 Sun 24-May-20 16:04:10

I'd leave. In fact I did.

Nothing wrong with exH, not controlling or abusive, good with the kids etc, same page with parenting, good job and we were comfortable enough.

However we were more like housemates than a married couple. He slept in another room for 10 years, DCs thought that was normal as they'd never seen anything different. It took me a long time to leave because I didn't want the DCs lives to be 'ruined' and thought I made my bed so I should lie in it as I had chosen this.

Ultimately I got more and more unhappy which affected everything. The DCs didn't appear happy, especially my eldest and the atmosphere in general at home was awful when we were all there. It was much better when exH was not home.

We finally split, at my instigation, and I'm divorced and with someone else now. We have a much more fulfilling relationship and I like that my DCs can now see what a loving relationship looks like. I'm sooo much happier and I don't regret it for a second..

CovidicusRex Sun 24-May-20 16:05:03

He sounds very unkind. I would ask for an open relationship (can’t do without sex and to be blunt if he cares about you at all he wouldn’t want you to do so). If he said no I’d just leave. If he were kinder that would be one thing but I wouldn’t stay with someone who doesn’t meet enough of my needs to make it worth my while if they treated me the way he treats you because I could never love someone who treats me the way he treats you.

Dawn0ft0m0rr0w Sun 24-May-20 16:11:41

If you stay, you will continue to be unhappy and will always have the - what if...

If you leave, you can do exactly what you want

I know what I would choose & that would be the new start

Oopsiedaisyy Sun 24-May-20 16:14:52

I chose option 4, and had an affair in an attempt to keep the marriage and family together. Unfortunately it just highlighted how much marriage was missing and I separated.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 24-May-20 16:16:12

Your pros list is very weak and basic again there is the "good dad" comment in there. Women in poor relationships often write that too when they can think of nothing else positive to write about their man, He is not a good dad to his children if you as their mother are treated in such a manner. On the other hand you cons list is both longer and far more detailed; what does that in itself tell you?.

Whose sake would you be staying for if you stayed; theirs or more likely yours because its somehow easier?.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what are they learning here?. Do not at all think they are too young to not be picking up on all this because they are and they also see your antipathy to each other so very clearly. What did your parents teach you about relationships when you were growing up, a shedload of damaging lessons and your mother stayed for her own reasons too and it sounds like you've married a not too dissimilar version to your own father. Do you also want to teach your children that a loveless marriage could be their norm too, I would hope not.

Better to be on your own than to be so badly accompanied.

HaggisBurger Sun 24-May-20 16:26:08

@CovidicusRex he really isn’t unkind. I think it’s all he’s able to give. And I have to accept my part in it. I allowed it to continue like that. I didn’t set bottom lines around his getting help on the sex stuff. I tried to cover up my unhappiness in material stuff, planning the next holiday, doing things with the DC. Not to drip feed but here is family history of ASD - one of our kids and one of his sibs. I don’t think he’d quite get a diagnosis but he would score very highly. An open relationship is not something I could cope with emotionally tbh.

@Qwerty543 thank you for sharing your experience. Yes we sleep in separate rooms which is really sad. But I’ll be damned if I’ll share a bed with a snorer if there is no sex involved 😢. I’m glad you found someone lovely.

@Torres10 that’s interesting that’s your situation too. Do you plan to take action? It’s very hard. I feel a lot of compassion for my DH - I’ve been doing a huge amt of work on myself over lockdown and have let go of a lot of the bitter resentment I had towards him. Things were pretty bad over Xmas and my unhappiness caused me to be very angry with him - but not great at expressing why. I’ve now reached a stage of sad resignation that it’s just to late. I love him as a friend not a lover. I hate the thought of hurting him. I know he’d probably go to counselling now as he’s in fear of abandonment but what will that acheive except maybe a realisation / acceptance that our marriage has run its course and it’s time to move on?

OP’s posts: |
Oopsiedaisyy Sun 24-May-20 16:29:31

I think there's a point where you can't make the feelings come back. They could do everything right, but that ship has sailed and all you feel is resentment and an ick that just won't allow you to be intimate again.

AllyBamma Sun 24-May-20 16:33:33

I think from the sounds of it you’ve really thought this through and you’ve really tried to make this work but he isn’t coming to the party, despite your best efforts. Based on that, if he isn’t willing to put any work in to change things then yes, I would cut my losses and go and look for a happier life on my own. Who knows, years from now you may look back and think ‘thank god I left, look how far I’ve come’

HaggisBurger Sun 24-May-20 16:34:59

@AttilaTheMeerkat thanks. Yes I did notice the cons list was a lot longer and more detailed for sure. I know where my heart and instinct lies. The fault is definitely not all his at all. He actually tries to “please” me a lot in many ways. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how. He grew up in a dysfunctional family with a hugely toxic divorce at the age our kids are now. It’s his biggest fear and I think acting in fear if I attempt to leave he could be hugely combative and nasty. I’d love to be able to get to a point of amicablity and working together. I don’t know if that’s a pipe dream ...

@Oopsiedaisyy - I totally empathise how that could feel like a solution but end up highlighting much more what you are missing. Are you happier now?

OP’s posts: |
Happynow001 Sun 24-May-20 16:51:15

If you decide to leave, OP, what are your plans? Do you have access to any money at all so you could get your own accommodation? Have you checked to see what accommodation is available? What would happen re the children - would they stay or move with you? What about a job - have you researched what's available, what you would do, what you could earn? Have you taken any legal advice yet?

I know I've thrown a lot of questions at you and there's no need to answer them here. You may already have thought through these for yourself but food for thought in case this will help you to prepare.

I'm sorry you are going through this tough time but hopefully you will find a solution which is less painful for each of you and brings you some inner peace. 🌹

Torres10 Sun 24-May-20 16:56:18

I booked into counselling on my own to try and figure everything out..Still work in progress, but I now know I should not have to compromise my happiness under the illusion of ensuring everyone else is content, that's no life.

My next steps..my DH knows I am not happy, he thinks I am having a midlife crisis..maybe I am in so far as I am evaluating what I want for once and for the first time have the confidence to jump.
We are still civil to each other, though no real open talking, it's too hard when we have no escape from each other at the moment.

I don't want to hurt him, but I think he would find someone fairly quickly, and the fact I am ok with that, says everything I think..have you asked yourself that question and what sort of emotion does it create in you?

Torres10 Sun 24-May-20 16:57:47

Oh and yes to the ick unfortunately !

Oopsiedaisyy Sun 24-May-20 17:12:01

I'm happier, much happier. I'm Co parenting, paying my own way and seeing someone still. It's not simple but when I remember the life I used to lead, I'm so glad I found the strength to leave.

ChristmasFluff Sun 24-May-20 18:42:55

I think you may regret it if you leave with the only successful outcome being 'passion in a new relationship'.

If you leave with a successful outcome being defined as 'happier than I am now', then I doubt you'll regret ending the marriage.

thepeopleversuswork Sun 24-May-20 19:13:36

I would leave this marriage, personally. For me it would make no sense to be married to someone with whom there was no physical or emotional intimacy. Yes, the break will be difficult for your children initially but they will adjust to it. You are not required to sacrifice your own happiness forever just to keep the family unit together and your children will not thank or respect you more for doing this.

Ultimately it’s up to you but it sounds to me as if you know in your heart that you want to leave. Good luck.

PicsInRed Sun 24-May-20 19:19:43

This isn't a friendship. He's a gas lighter (claims you are depressed when you are legitimately unhappy about a sexless, unsupportive marriage).

One of your children has SEN.
Have you considered that your husband has SEN? This wouldn't mean you should stay, actually, based on what you've written, you should definitely leave.

NorthFace Sun 24-May-20 19:33:56

I’m in a similar boat although it’s me who put a stop to intimacy/sex ten years ago. I couldn’t go near him and passion was not his thing. I hadn’t been with anyone else so was unaware of what true passion was.
I’m 48, he is 58 and an old 58 at that. We don’t connect. He was very unsupportive throughout our marriage if I was ever unsettled about something.
My kids are 12 and 16. I feel bad as they don’t see a loving relationship and I sleep in another room. Like QWERTY, my unhappiness has increased and my role as a mum, my work life and general day to day living has been affected.
I coped for years as I was kept busy with the children, a career and my elderly mum. Things changed 3-4 years ago. I’d lost my mum, to cancer, in 2015, the kids were more independent and the biggest change of all was about to occur...MENOPAUSE! Little did I know it but my hormones were raging. My periods stopped abruptly and I began to feel very strange and, unusually, very horny. Yes, I got involved with someone else (who is still in my life, although we are at a distance now) but, wow, has he opened my eyes to passion, connection etc. It’s made me realise what I’ve missed and why I am so unhappy.
I’ve decided to leave as soon as I can. It’s no good staying when life at home is miserable. I know that.
You should leave. It sounds pretty rubbish tbh.

HaggisBurger Sun 24-May-20 20:37:17

Ugh wrote a long reply and lost it

@picsinred - yes I’ve considered that he may he on the spectrum, yes. I mentioned it in a reply above. I don’t think you can call him suggesting I was depressed gaslighting per se. That’s a strong statement. I think he genuinely thought they although it may have suited him to think that too.

@thepeopleversuswork - thanks for your thoughts. Yes I do know deep down that I can’t sacrifice my own happiness.

OP’s posts: |
HaggisBurger Sun 24-May-20 20:39:25

@ChristmasFluff you’re right of course.

OP’s posts: |
scottishlass123 Sun 24-May-20 21:10:56

Hello, it is a really difficult decision. The cons do out weigh the pros but sometimes when we are focusing on the negatives the cons list just gets longer. You just need to lay it on the line one last time and make him aware that this is the last ditch attempt and tell him you both need to go to therapy to find intimacy. It is not necessarily about sex, your getting the ick because you don't feel close and intimate with your husband. You need to reiterate that you accept that it is difficult for him, but it is also difficult for you but you both have the try. Otherwise your marriage may end and you may live with regrets about how it could have been. Tell him how fufilling your marriage could be. Marriages need work and communication, you say your husband is trying to please you but won't go to counselling, he is embarrassed? Counsellors are professionals who have heard it all before. I do hope everything works out for you and that you and hubby find your spark.

PicsInRed Sun 24-May-20 21:18:21

although it may have suited him to think that too.

That's a good way of putting it. It suited him.
He prefers the narrative that you are mentally ill to the reality that his behaviour makes you unhappy. Sadly, that is a difficult hurdle to overcome, particularly if there are spectrum issues also to be navigated (e.g. fixed ideas, resistance to change, potentially demand avoidance etc). 💐

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