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Doubting my own judgement

(87 Posts)
counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 11:58:02

Please help… I am trying to decide whether to ask my husband for a divorce and am totally confused and have lost faith in my own judgement.
I’m afraid of staying in a relationship that isn’t good enough and can’t be fixed, but I’m also afraid of leaving and regretting it. How do you know/decide what to do!?

I’ve considered divorce on and off over the years (since 2014) so we’ve definitely had our issues over the years. Each time we say we’ll give it a few months to try and improve things but the fact that I’m here now I guess suggests that we don’t manage to make permanent improvements (although in 2017 I didn’t think we’d separate as I then chose to have my youngest in 2018).

To give you an idea of the issues that I feel are in the relationship:

•Broken Trust – I don’t think my husband would cheat on me, so I guess I’m lucky in that sense. But I have had my trust broken - for example, when my husband knew I wouldn’t approve of a particular boy’s weekend away he lied and told me he was going away with his Dad and cousin on a racing weekend. He continued to lie when asked about it (to the point of showing me pictures of his cousin with a horse and suggesting I was in the wrong for even questioning him) and only admitted it when I told him I had seen messages on his phone. Another example is where he didn’t tell me about a payrise (we put all of our money in a joint account) – he withdrew it and kept it in the wardrobe instead. Looking back I think we should have handled our finances differently as I think the issue was that maybe he felt like he always had to explain how he was spending his money because of it being in a joint account – but I don’t like that he was deceptive instead of talking to me about it. These particular examples are from 2016 and 2018 but I’ve found it hard to get past in the sense that I find myself suspicious about things now 

•Compassion - I often don’t feel like my husband really cares for me/my feelings. From simple things like speaking over me on a night out, to when on holiday he left me to get out of the swimming pool and find my way to medical help on my own after I hurt myself. He’ll also walk away from me even if I’m in tears during an argument. He’s a massive football fan and we’ve also had many arguments about times when he’s put football over family occasions. My husband in fairness to him doesn’t go out drinking etc that often and I don’t have an issue with him going to the football but it feels like it comes first and the family are expected to fit around it? Am I expecting too much?

•Communication – my husband gets frustrated when I’m upset by something and often says things like “are you still going on about this”, “why do you always make things into an issue” etc. I pick and choose which issues are big enough to discuss and he quite often gets frustrated if the conversation goes on for longer than he would like.

•Volatile Mood - my husband seems to over-react to things, for example, he might swear about being woken by one of the children or get easily annoyed if things don’t go smoothly to plan. I’ve noticed I’ve started feeling anxious when the children are “playing up”, but I think moreso because I don’t want him to get stressed out and then the whole thing spiral from there – rather than it being the children’s behaviour itself that’s bothering me. I’m also starting to worry that my daughter is being affected as she has become more emotional recently.

Of course my husband has positives too – he works hard and splits childcare and housework with me equally. He has tried to make improvements in the past when we’ve had discussions and I genuinely think wants to do right by us. Particularly since our last discussion in March he does seem to be trying to be less snappy etc… but so much has happened that I'm wondering whether this is just to get me to stay and then old habits will return - but then think I'm being unfair to him. I'm very confused!

Is there such a thing as too much water under the bridge? Am I over-reacting to things and should be more grateful for what he does and more laid back?

Please help!

OP’s posts: |
Crystalspider Thu 11-Jun-20 17:21:29

If I were you I'd see how long he's trying to make an effort for, I think when you are really to split, something just snaps and you just can't tolerate it any longer.
I agree the lying was bad but I guess he feels he can't have some freedom that you object to, you do have to think, you are in a relationship and cannot control them as a person.
like everyone he's not perfect but there is alot worse, have you read the forums here?
You also have young children, think how it would effect them and how you would manage on your own and it would certainly be more difficult to find another man with very young children.

Bunnymumy Thu 11-Jun-20 18:44:35

Basically he is a shit.

Your first point would be enough for you to walk away on it's own.

But the swimming pool thing is sick. He didnt care you were hurt. That's someone who has contempt for you. And I dont keep people around me who view me with nothing but contempt. Let alone stay in a relationship with them!

Someone who can walk away from you when you are crying is nothing but an utter bastard. All the ok stuff cant make up for that.

backseatcookers Thu 11-Jun-20 19:26:13

Just because there are 10/10 wankers it doesn't mean you should spend your life with a 7/10 wanker.

He's done some thoughtless stuff, some nasty stuff and sounds selfish as a partner.

Don't waste more of your life on him than you need to - you can separate and coparent to focus on being a healthy happy mum without remaining in a couple with him x

Eckhart Thu 11-Jun-20 19:36:57

People in healthy relationships don't get to the point of 'doubting their judgement'. They see negative stuff (as you have), make their judgement (as you have), and address it. If their needs don't get met, they leave.

ArthurandJessie Thu 11-Jun-20 19:44:58

I think previous posters are being a little harsh everyone makes mistakes ! Noone is perfect either I'm sure you have faults and do things that drive him nuts ! Have you been to therapy? Maybe that could help ?! From reading your post it doesn't really sound like anything you both couldn't work on

JustBeingMoi Thu 11-Jun-20 20:18:45

My lovely, I could basically have written this, apart from the money thing! Which frankly shocks me, even after some of the shit my husband has thrown at me. And currently we are separated, both trying to work on our own issues. However I really worry there could be nothing left to salvage when trust and respect has been lost. What else is a relationship based on, if not trust, respect and love, and if there isnt respect and trust, there cannot be love. He sounds like he has been a shit, nothing has changed, and the real thing that is keeping you there is the fear of the unknown. Believe me, I understand. What do you get put of this relationship. Does it make you happy, does it meet your needs, are you happy to 'keep trying for change' only for it not to happen.

counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 20:24:35

Thank you so much to everybody who has taken the time to reply - I realised my first message was too long after I sent it! It's really helpful to hear people's opinions.

My husband has totally refused to go to counselling so I've tried to do a lot of research/reading online myself over the years and work on things from home. Sometimes things must have improved a little (to get to the point where we had a second child) but the underlying problems of not communicating well and not feeling like my husband's priority still seem to come back eventually.

I'm sure I do have plenty of faults of my own - I know I spend too much time working sometimes and at the start of the relationship probably was too clingy although I've definitely stopped this as much as possible now. I probably should have said that the friends he wanted to go away with which I wouldn't approve of (when he lied about it) take drugs and cheat on their partners all the time and on a stag do away with them my husband ended up not going back to his hotel room one night (apparently because his room mate had a girl back so he slept on somebody else's floor) - so I just am not comfortable with him being away with them. I have no issue with him going away with his other friends who aren't like that!

If all the stuff that has happened over the years happened in one go then I know I couldn't deal with it and would walk... but because it's happened over time and I've chosen not to leave over them individually it feels more difficult and confusing. And I know I am lucky to have a partner who is willing to do half of the housework and childcare.

I was 90% ready to leave in March after years of "trying" and think my husband realised I was ready to leave as he's actually started to make a bit more of an effort now. But deep down I'm wondering why now and not all the other times I asked? I feel like I'm just waiting for it to go wrong again and that's not fair on me or him... But I also have the doubt of what if I make a final decision and then regret it because in theory we should have the basics to work with??

OP’s posts: |
Eckhart Thu 11-Jun-20 20:36:57

You don't sound happy. If you're waiting for him to screw up, that feeling will be with you always. You can never know he won't screw up unless you trust him, and you don't.

What difference does it make if he's done things that have upset you enough to make you leave over a different period of time? Surely that means he's still done enough to make you want to leave?

You will never have the answer. There is not going to be a certainty, a proof, a definite yes or no. The question is not 'Can I change him into someone who makes me happy?' but 'Does he make me happy being his authentic self.'

Does he?

counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 20:43:17

@JustBeingMoi Thank you so much for your reply and I'm sorry that you are going through a similar thing. I totally understand what you mean about what is there left when trust and respect have gone... and agree that it's hard to feel loving towards my husband now that they have gone.
I actually don't think that my husband would cheat on me (maybe that's naïve) but not feeling able to trust him not to lie about money or for an easy life if he thinks I won't agree with him is still a massive issue - I hate having that doubt in my mind! But because it's been more than one lie/breach of trust now and it was brazen, to my face, and tried to make me feel like I was in the wrong... I feel like I'm just waiting for the next one. He's even lied/not quite told the truth about things like what bet's he's put on and I don't understand why!
I guess I am just generally starting to feel that there is too much water under the bridge now to mend things?

I definitely want better than things have been up until now - I want somebody who cares enough about me to help me when I've hurt myself (even if that means them getting out a swimming pool straight after getting in) and who cares enough to stop and listen when I'm crying.

If nothing had changed since March it would be easier but because he's being helpful and suddenly making an effort with my family etc it's really confusing.

OP’s posts: |
Sweetlikecoca Thu 11-Jun-20 20:49:37

From some of the points you made 2 of them stood out for me. Your husband sounds mean and not very thoughtful. Did he actually have a valid reason for hiding the money and the fact he got a pay rise?

When you needed medical attention that would have been a NO NO and quickly nipped in the bud.

counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 20:55:32

@Eckhart Right now I'm not happy, no. Things as they have been aren't good enough for either of us. I think the thing that keeps me staying is the fact that I know if we can make it work with us it's better for the children, financially etc. But I don't know at what point I give up trying. I think you're right that I'm looking for a definite answer that will never come. But that has been made more confusing by him suddenly seeming to be making a bit of an effort.

I think if it all happened in one go it would hurt so much that I felt like I had to leave, whereas it's gradual when it's over years. And I feel like it's wrong to bring things up from the past?

I don't like to think that I would ever want anybody to change - I just don't want him to lie to me, want him to listen to me when I'm upset and don't want to organise my family life around a football fixture list... but maybe that is expecting him to change...

OP’s posts: |
counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 21:02:44

@sweetlikecoca I only found out about the payrise because he took 6 weeks of shared parental leave when our son was born so his payslip got sent home. When I saw it he said that he'd just forgotten to mention it (it was only a small payrise) but then I walked into the bedroom as he was taking money out of the cupboard. His immediate response was "why do you always have to ruin everything" (attack is definitely his immediate defence mechanism), but this was the money he'd been withdrawing from his payrise so to me this isn't forgetting to mention it. He never gave me a valid reason - to be honest I made excuses for him as we had a 5 week old baby at the time and I didn't want the trouble, so blamed the fact that he maybe didn't like all of our money going into a joint account and wanted some of his own. But he'd never told me he had an issue with it as if he had we could have changed things!

OP’s posts: |
Sweetlikecoca Thu 11-Jun-20 21:07:16

That’s bad. I couldn’t have a joint account after that it’s the principle. Have you been to relationship counselling? It does sound like there’s not going to be much change and old habits are hard to undo.

Eckhart Thu 11-Jun-20 21:07:56

Well, if you want him to do things he's not doing naturally, of his own accord, then you're wanting him to change to meet your needs.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's completely reasonable of you to want these things in a partner - they're basics really, they should be 'givens'. But they're not him.

I think the things he's done have hurt you enough to make you feel you need to leave.Otherwise you wouldn't even have it in your mind. People who disregard their partner's feelings and then 'make an effort' when the partner suggests breaking up are generally on 'best behaviour', and it doesn't last.

What might be best for your kids in the future is one thing, but currently they are living with unhappy parents, which is not good for them now.

counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 21:12:06

@sweetlikecoca My husband won't go to counselling, so I've just tried to do what I can from home by reading online advice etc. We probably would have been better never managing our finances the way we do - I suggested we split the bills 50/50 and keep our own money ourselves after this happened but he didn't want to do that as I earn more so he'd struggle to pay 50% of the bills. Sadly I think I do feel a bit like I'm waiting for the next problem..

OP’s posts: |
Eckhart Thu 11-Jun-20 21:13:37

I think you should be the next problem!

Sweetlikecoca Thu 11-Jun-20 21:15:47

This is terrible OP. Why are you married if it’s all about what he wants. Stand up for yourself make it clear that he needs to attend Counselling other wise you will leave. I’m sure he will pull his socks up if he really wants to make it work.

counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 21:29:58

@Eckhart Thank you - it really helps to know that I'm not being unreasonable to want these things. And you're right that I do feel like I have been hurt and let down a lot of times over the years... I think that's why this time, even though he seems to be making a bit more of an effort, I'm not letting him in and am almost waiting for the problem - to protect myself from being hurt again? Maybe I'm waiting for a problem as justification to leave.

What you said about best behaviour makes total sense too - that's probably why we've had 6 years of going through rough patches followed by slight improvements then back to square one. In March he said to me that he "would listen to me because it's better than not having me around to listen to at all"... but I want somebody who wants to listen to me, not sees it as a sacrifice.

OP’s posts: |
MMmomDD Thu 11-Jun-20 21:43:49

OP - I am sorry you sound down and unhappy. And there is a mixed bag of issues that is a little hard to untangle.
The pool accident seems strange and it’s hard to understand why anyone would behave that way. Was there ever an explanation?
On some of the other issues - sorry to say - but it seems that he is afraid of you and does things to avoid conflict. Not great -but some people are like that, especially when their partners are quite forceful (whether in reality, or in their mind).
And you will probably object to being called that - however, just the fact that you think it’s OK to forbid an adult from seeing a group of his friends - does point to at least some controlling tendencies. And especially when you say you trust him - and still feel the need to control his movements, which is strange to me.

I think the two of you have accumulated issues and resentments on both sides. And the two of you deal very differently with those - you charge, he tries to avoid conflict, so hides. It’s a vicious circle. And you have two small kids that puts a strain on any relationships.
I don’t think you can get out of this without help from a professional. I know you said he was against it before - but if I were you - before just leaving - I’d give him a choice of therapy or divorce. As a last attempt to figure things out.
Despite all you said in your posts - it still sees to me that you’d actually rather fixed things. So - why not try offering that as a last chance option?

counters22 Thu 11-Jun-20 22:12:33

@MMmomDD - Thank you for your reply. I think you're right that my husband avoids conflict, I'd always rather him be honest with me but he had a difficult time with his Mum growing up and he'd rather just have an easy life than difficult conversations. I think I was too clingy at the start of the relationship because of my own insecurities and that probably made the problem worse. I didn't forbid him to see a certain group of his friends as such, but this group of friends have got into a lot of trouble with drugs and cheating on their partners in their past so I didn't feel comfortable with him going away with them for a full weekend. Maybe the truth is that I don't really trust him not to cheat on me after all. But I certainly don't pretend to be fully innocent. I think the issue is whether there is any way out of the vicious circle we've been in for the last 6 years without just causing each other more hurt. There's no harm in mentioning counselling to my husband again but he's emphatically refused every time I've mentioned it in the past.

On the pool incident - he never offered any explanation other than that he'd only just got into the pool and didn't want to get out yet. Until a few weeks ago when I told him how much it had hurt me and asked how he would feel if a future husband of our daughter did that he never apologised. He said now that he sees it was the wrong thing to do, it's a question I guess of whether I think he'd behave differently next time.

OP’s posts: |
MMmomDD Thu 11-Jun-20 23:42:38

What I said about therapy wasn’t that you should offer it again as such.
I think - if you are really at the point of walking away and it’s not just a bad day, or a reaction to the lockdown - then I think being very clear about it is important.
And then communicating it clearly - as there are only two choices - counselling or divorce then may have an impact.
But it’s the nuclear option and you can only use it if you mean it.

counters22 Fri 12-Jun-20 15:50:14

I ended up speaking to my husband about it today... he still doesn’t want to do counselling but does want to try and make it work. I feel like I probably should based on my original message where I said I don’t want to look back with regrets (especially making a big decision during lockdown)... but I do feel a bit depressed and hopeless about it all. I guess only time will tell whether I can believe that things will improve x

OP’s posts: |
Tabithha Fri 12-Jun-20 15:55:42

He doesn’t respect or care for you and it’s disappointing you decided to bring another child into this crap situation. Might get flamed for that but people need to realise their actions have consequences. Why would you have another child with someone you’d already been doubting for two years at that point?

moreofthegreenstuff Fri 12-Jun-20 15:56:46

Once you have made your decision, you don't need to ask him - you tell him that you are going ahead with it.

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