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Can I save this marriage?

(26 Posts)
CalicoPony Fri 19-Jun-20 01:45:13

It’s my two year anniversary today and I think my marriage may be over. Could do with an objective viewpoint on my situation as I feel I’m slowly going insane here...

I met my French husband in France 6 years ago; 3 years later we had an accidental baby, then got married (I felt it was important to have a stable family environment for our child) then had another unplanned baby.

Fast forward and kids are now 3 and 16 months, we moved back to UK so I could progress my career (not a popular decision but he’s got a good job here too). And my husband has checked out.

If I want him to do ANYTHING, I have to nag him. If I don’t nag (I’ve tried) he sits around eating, smoking, and watching YouTube on his phone. During lockdown I’m the main earner and have been working every hour - finishing at midnight, starting again at 5 - trying to get my business up and running and getting us financially stable.

I’ve given him an ultimatum - engage with your family and your life, or leave. He made a token effort and has now gone back to being a vegetable. He has no passion, no ambition, no desire to talk to me - still wants occasional sex but feels like simply a physical release for him.

I’m very driven, have high expectations of myself and those around me, and tend to be critical. But I’m also generous, hardworking, and very loving. I tend towards being a bit needy in relationships so we did have a dynamic where I was chasing and he was running away, but I nipped that in the bud and we’re basically completely disengaged now. We’ve tried therapy and his attitude seemed to stump the therapist too - he’s stubborn and proud and doesn’t really seem to want to change. Just wants his creature comforts, to work hard in his job, and to have minimal/non-challenging contact with the children.

I am buckling under the pressure of holding everything together. I tell myself that the stress of getting married, having kids, moving country has essentially put him in a state of overload and shock and he just needs time and for me to take the lions share of take and responsibilities. I do also wonder if he’s depressed but he’s massively avoidant and won’t address it.

He also has a bad temper, he pushed me over once when I was pregnant, threw a metal clothes airer at my head and made my face and ear bleed, raised his fist, throws stuff at me...last night we had an argument and he screamed at me, waking both children so I went upstairs. He followed me up and shouted swear words at me in french while I was breastfeeding the baby then spat on me and left the house.

I’m not innocent either - I haven’t been physically violent but have said very nasty stuff to him and can be emotionally volatile which he finds very stressful.

Writing it down like this, it looks like a complete shit show. Thoughts? Ideas? Advice?

OP’s posts: |
MrsTerryPratchett Fri 19-Jun-20 01:47:13

He also has a bad temper, he pushed me over once when I was pregnant, threw a metal clothes airer at my head and made my face and ear bleed, raised his fist, throws stuff at me...last night we had an argument and he screamed at me, waking both children so I went upstairs. He followed me up and shouted swear words at me in french while I was breastfeeding the baby then spat on me and left the house.

End this relationship. That's the only possible solution. Thank goodness you're in the UK.

Fatted Fri 19-Jun-20 01:47:48

By the sounds of it, neither of you actually really chose to be in this relationship or have kids together.

Cut your losses and walk away OP. He doesn't want this life. You are flogging a dead horse.

Flittingabout Fri 19-Jun-20 01:52:35

I'm really sorry to read about what's been happening to you.

I think, for many reasons, the situation with lockdown has highlighted longstanding issues with who this man is at his core and what his needs and coping strategies (avoidant, detached) are.

It seems like the signs were there some time ago that he wasn't in a place to be a good or safe partner or father and it all happened too quickly for him to get himself in recovery so is stil taking whatever his demons are out on the family...this will not resolve itself as you know.

It is now time to act on your gut feeling. What is it telling you to do?

SHAR0N Fri 19-Jun-20 01:55:11

Cut your losses and walk away OP. He doesn't want this life. You are flogging a dead horse

She’s right I’m afraid. Sorry, I’m sure that’s not what you want to hear.

But you have a good job and two healthy kids and you will be fine. Can you afford a nanny ?

I expect he will bugger off back to France and never see or pay for his kids.

CalicoPony Fri 19-Jun-20 01:56:30

@MrsTerryPratchett I know! That’s part of the reason I insisted we move here. I felt massively disempowered over there.

OP’s posts: |
CalicoPony Fri 19-Jun-20 01:57:51

@Fatted i think you may be right. I’m so reluctant to break it off but I don’t really know why. I love him but I also hate him. That’s really fucked up isn’t it.

OP’s posts: |
CalicoPony Fri 19-Jun-20 02:00:23

‘It seems like the signs were there some time ago that he wasn't in a place to be a good or safe partner or father and it all happened too quickly for him to get himself in recovery so is stil taking whatever his demons are out on the family...this will not resolve itself as you know.’

@Flittingabout this is so right. My gut doesn’t seem to be working or at least I’m not getting a clear message. I’m desperately clinging to the idea that if we can just get past this really stressful phase when the children are tiny, things will get better. Maybe it’s a fantasy...

OP’s posts: |
VodselForDinner Fri 19-Jun-20 02:00:29

Why would you want to save this shit show?

Go your separate ways. Your children are too young to realise what’s happening now, but growing up with such violence will eventually impact them.

CalicoPony Fri 19-Jun-20 02:03:50

@vodsel
I’ve always been a firm believer that relationships take hard work and perseverance, and I know I’m not the easiest of people to live with. I’m trying to save it for the children’s sake, hoping that we can make things right and balance out the damage already done I suppose...

OP’s posts: |
Flittingabout Fri 19-Jun-20 02:07:24

Yes it is a very seductive fantasy.

The trouble is, this has nothing to do with lockdown and having small children anymore. This man has issues and has no intention to seek help professionally to change.

Therefore the life you have now is the BEST you will get with him. Can you imagine feeling fulfilled by this life if it doesn't change?

longtimecomin Fri 19-Jun-20 02:22:30

I agree with pp's, this isn't the life he wants and you're flogging a dead horse. Cut your losses and start again.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 19-Jun-20 02:25:02

I’ve always been a firm believer that relationships take hard work and perseverance, and I know I’m not the easiest of people to live with.

You've confused the two most important lessons for marriage.

Always compromise.

Never compromise.

Always when it's dishes and dummies and curtains and families and birthdays and so on.

Never when it's safety, core values and beliefs, and abuse and violence. Zero tolerance and no compromise.

SHAR0N Fri 19-Jun-20 08:11:17

Wise words @MrsTerryPratchett

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 19-Jun-20 08:21:07

Stop flogging the dead horse.

Relationships should not be such hard work honestly and trying to save this at all for the sake of the children is a huge error. There is NOTHING to rescue and or save here. The two of you need to go your separate ways, its over anyway because of his inherent laziness towards you (his own father is probably the same). This is who he has always been. He was never a project to do up and or improve nor yours to try and rescue and or save from his own self.

What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?.
Did your parents treat each other like this?. Who taught you that relationships are such hard work?.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what are they learning from you two here?. Do not keep on doing your bit here to show your children that a loveless and otherwise crap marriage is their norm too. Staying for the sake of the children is a terrible idea and teaches them too that a happy, loving and mutually respectful relationship let alone marriage is not their birthright.

Who recommended joint counselling?. This was never going to work out anyway (and it did not as it turns out); he feels entitled to act as he does towards you (and in turn his children who are and will pick up on all the vibes both spoken and unspoken here). He too has a problem with anger but not in the ways you think. He has a problem with anger, YOUR anger, when you rightly call him out on his unreasonable and otherwise crap behaviours.

category12 Fri 19-Jun-20 08:27:55

Once there's violence, it needs to be over.

And you're not providing a safe nurturing home for your dc while they're being woken by screaming and shouting.

You've been physically and verbally abused, and spitting on you is contemptuous (and also considered assault).

Clinging on isn't good for any of you.

GoGoGadgetShoes Fri 19-Jun-20 09:54:44

This is not a marriage that can, or should, be saved, for the sake of all involved.

I related to your post as my STBXH is also French, and I think that we often play down just how difficult inter-cultural marriages can be. We don't come from the same cultural backgrounds and despite what people say, this can make a huge difference, epsecially when one person is not communicating in their native language. Whoever is not speaking in their native language is at a permanent disadvantage and this can lead to huge resentment and misunderstanding, even when the speakers consider their langauge skills to be very good.

Having said that, as I read to the end of your post I was horrified and appalled at his treatment of you. It's not acceptable in any culture (certainly not in France) to behave that way. Please find yourself some counselling if you can, and start making plans to rid yourself of this abusive, nasty man.

hellsbellsmelons Fri 19-Jun-20 10:14:25

Jeez OP this sounds horrendous.
He is physically violent - he is assaulting you.
Re-read your opening post.
Do you have a daughter?
What would you tell her if she came to you with this information about her relationship?
Which she will by the way (if you have a girl) as she will model what she learned about relationships growing up!!
Please end this and fast!!!!

mindutopia Fri 19-Jun-20 10:21:26

This isn't worth working on. You have your whole life ahead of you and your children are young enough to have not been damaged by his abuse yet. My mum left my dad (very similar btw) when I was 8. I remember the day she told me we were moving being such a relief. It would have been so much better if she'd done it when I was 3 and still oblivious.

CalicoPony Fri 19-Jun-20 11:08:00

Thank you to everyone for your advice and support, I really appreciate it.

I’ve given him an ultimatum: he needs to seek help and present me with some sort of proactive plan for changing his attitude in the next seven days. If he can’t do that to my satisfaction (and stick to it like glue), he’s out.

To be honest I’m actually just sick of the sight of him and want him gone...but think I’m paralysed by fear of being on my alone, which feels really shameful and weak.

I’m on it. I’ve been very clear that I won’t stand for it any longer. I suspect he won’t change in which case I’ll make a new, better life for myself and the kids. Onwards and upwards!

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 19-Jun-20 11:25:14

You have merely given him another week to potentially torment you thorugh your own paralysis.

An ultimatum though can only be issued once and you need to be prepared to follow through on this fully. If you cannot do that you should not ever issue it.

Better to be alone than to be so badly accompanied; that btw is a French proverb.

What is so very bad to you here about being on your own?. You are on your own in this relationship anyway, he has never been any sort of decent human being to you nor for that matter his children. The only good thing to have come out of all this at all are your children and they deserve to learn far better lessons about relationships going forward. Your marriage was over the very first time he abused you; remember always that the only acceptable level of abuse in a relationship is NONE. Better to learn that rather than this "relationships are a lot of hard work" crap you've been exposed to.

hellsbellsmelons Fri 19-Jun-20 11:44:57

Use this week to get your separated life in order.
Paperwork, passports, important documents, his earnings, his pension info, asset info, etc.....
It's a step in the right direction OP.
It's hard to just end things.
Although, he will be good a file and then revert back to type so you are just delaying the inevitable.
But you are making progress and realising what a fucking asshole he is which is good. The rest will follow.

theprincessmittens Fri 19-Jun-20 11:55:22

Are you my parents?

My father is/was French (I've had no contact for 30 years, don't know whether he is still alive) and my mother met him in the UK. Within 6 months she was pregnant and they were married. Less than 2 months after my older brother was born she was pregnant with me (she believed that old wife's tale that you couldn't get pregnant while breastfeeding).

My father lied about his age when he met my mother and was actually 5 years younger than her (him:18 her:23) She only found out when they went to get married....he never wanted to be a father in the first place and only married my mother because she was Catholic and it was the late 60s.

He kept up the pretence of being a happy family man for 4 years before he started cheating...completely checked out of family life when my I was 9 and eventually left my mother for another woman when I was just 21.

I had shit stressful childhood that I blame both parents for. While materially comfortable, emotionally it was a dumpster fire and aged 51 I'm still dealing with the scars it left. Believe me, knowing you weren't really wanted by either parent does incredible damage...do your two young children the ultimate favour and get out while they are too young to remember any of this.

ChristmasFluff Fri 19-Jun-20 12:25:34

Well you didn't follow through with your last ultimatum, so he knows your ultimatums are actually empty threats.

This marriage is dead is dead in the water. He's not going to change, so it's simply a question of long you are willing to put up with it for.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 19-Jun-20 13:43:10

Make sure you set an alarm on your phone to update us in a week. Either way, you'll need support.

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