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So I posted on here about 6-8 weeks ago about trying to reach the decision of whether to divorce my husband or not, after years of poor communication, lack of empathy and compassion, volatile moods and also some trust issues. I felt unloved and like an inconvenience in the marriage (it was always taken negatively if I had a difference of opinion or wanted to discuss something he didn’t want to talk about). But I struggled to reach a decision because he was hard-working, a good dad, we had years of memories and similar interests etc. so on paper it seemed like it should be possible to make it work. In the end though, off the back of a conversation with my husband where he said he would never want to have conversations, doesn’t “do empathy” etc. we agreed to separate. I knew I had no fight left or energy to keep trying to find the right words etc. At that stage it seemed mutual and I was doing well with the split… but about 10 days/2 weeks later my husband suddenly had an “epiphany” and is trying everything to get me to give it another try.
On an almost daily basis I have been bombarded by texts, calls and even a letter telling me how he has changed and can give me what I need. He’s sent me pictures of family days out, asking how it can be that we aren’t like that anymore. Told me how it took this split to realise he does want to put me first etc. How he’s struggling and we should be together. I have told him that I don’t believe things would change and that I find it difficult to accept that he let me hurt in the marriage for years without wanting to change so now it seems like he only wants to “change” because it’s for his benefit. Emotionally I gave up and shut down on the marriage a while ago, so why would I want to give him the opportunity to hurt me again and confuse the children after we have gone through the process of separating our homes and they’re doing well – it would be harder for me to leave a second time. But he keeps telling me how it would never be the same again, so I should give it another try. How he will never be happy to see me with somebody else, how he will never process what is happening between us and move on. How he doesn’t even know who I am anymore with the way I’m treating him during the divorce (because I’m being cold apparently by saying there’s no chance and that I don’t want to keep discussing it).
An example of how things are… On Saturday night when he had been drinking he kept asking to come to the house to talk, and trying to stop him took over my whole evening with my daughter. I agreed to meet him on Sunday afternoon instead – we talked, I made it clear that we wouldn’t be getting back together but came away feeling guilty because he was saying he couldn’t understand how I could be so cut and dry about it after 14 years etc. and how if I could just let him take me out somewhere I’d see that it was different etc. He keeps telling me how much he is struggling. Last night he then called me for an hour wanting to talk about solicitors, the house etc – obviously wanting to keep me on the phone for any reason but then also being rude and argumentative, saying I’m making the situation awkward, why was I being funny with him on the phone and so on. Then this morning he dropped our daughter home and spent 30 minutes telling me how he’s changed, crying about wanting to give it another chance and how he knows what I want and can make me happy.
It’s relentless. I’m exhausted. I’m starting to feel hopeless and a bit depressed. I’ve asked him not to speak to me about the relationship anymore and just focus on the kids, but it never stops and I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it. He’s actually telling me he’ll never process what’s happening between us or be okay with me being with somebody else. I’m scared my future is going to be a constant battle of him making my life miserable, causing trouble etc. This emotional rollercoaster is really starting to take its toll. Part of me thinks he is showing a total lack of respect for my needs and wishes even now and that this should prove I’ve made the right decision. Another part of me thinks I struggled to decide to leave in the first place and it wasn’t that bad so maybe I should agree to go on dates or something as at least it would make this stop
I guess I was just looking for advice or similar experiences?
I'm sure someone will be along with solid advice but didn't want to read and run.
I think you need to disengage.
In your heart of hearts you know if you got back together he might keep it up for a while but then everything would return to the way it was before. Otherwise why would it have taken him over 10 years and you leaving to actually be willing to do things that make you - the mother of his kids - happy.
I think he's just missing family comforts, am I correct in guessing you did the lions share at home?
If he calls you about anything to do with solicitors/house etc either be firm enough to cut him short and end the conversation or even better don't answer the call and conduct all affairs to do with solicitors etc via email. Having a written record is better anyway.
How old are the DCs? If old enough I would from now on just let them take themselves in and out the front door when he arrives for pickup/drop offs so that he can't try and catch you into any guilt tripping conversation.
Look up grey rock.
You don't owe him dates because he's pestering you and making you miserable, you know that will just make it worse.
One day you might meet someone else so I would start as you mean to go on so he knows he's not getting back together with you.
Everything is about how he feels and what he wants, isn't it? He wants to stay married for an easy life. For himself. He is gaslighting you, plain and simple.
He’s actually telling me he’ll never process what’s happening between us or be okay with me being with somebody else.
Too fucking bad. That's his problem, don't make it yours.
As for the constant bombardment of trying to weasel his way back in, you must stop engaging in the conversation. Do not reply to any texts unless it is about the children or the divorce. Do not listen to him moaning and pleading on the phone. Tell him you will hang up and then do it. No more meeting him for coffee, walks, whatever. He is being a horrible pest but you do have to take some responsibility for how you're feeling with him. You are allowing him to harass you at this point. Just stop it, stop all of it dead in it's tracks. No more discussions, end of.
Over and Aqua have pretty much said it. You are used to catering to his preferences and demands, and you essentially still are. Take a deep breath and the next step and cut him off.
definitely take any discussion of the divorce to email, so you always have proof of things he has offered or demanded. Send him an email saying you will only discuss the legal issues and the children on email, and that you will no longer be meeting him to console him for his mistakes. That is no longer your job.
When you actually cut him off, things are going to get ugly. He is fighting nice now, he will not keep that up when it doesn't work. I hope you won't have to be glad things are recorded, but it is way better than wishing things were.
@overweightcat The DC's are 7 and nearly 2 so unfortunately young enough that childcare etc needs to be discussed and they are physically dropped off. That's definitely the time when the majority of the "conversations" happen. I have been trying hard to not engage with his conversations as much as possible, which is why he's then accused me of being cold and that he doesn't recognise who I am etc - but reading the grey rock method can see that I need to be more firm and consistent. It's so hard as he starts to get agitated and argumentative when I ignore his attempts for discussions and that's when I start to either feel guilty (like I should care more when he says he's struggling) or like I need to diffuse the situation by speaking more.
@Aquamarine1029 Thank you - "that's his problem, don't make it yours" is a really good way of looking at it. I guess it feels like it's my problem because I don't want to be on the receiving end of anger and guilt trips. So it makes me feel a bit hopeless that that feels inevitable right now. Going for the walk on Sunday was the first time we've done that and I only agreed to it as a compromise to stop him from turning up at the house on Saturday night. But I can see that I shouldn't have done it as it certainly didn't help. I've been trying to find a way through this with some degree of amicability and know he'll react badly if I refuse to speak to him so guess I've been scared of doing that. I expect the level of contact, but in a nasty way, would actually increase. I went for a walk a couple of weekends ago when he had the children and didn't look at my phone for a few hours and in that time had 6 missed calls and messages asking me if I'd done something stupid... when I did then reply via text he tried to call straight away, I didn't answer so then he kicked off about why wasn't I answering, what was I hiding etc. I guess I need to toughen up a bit and not let it bother me.
@1moremum I can well imagine that you're right that things are going to get ugly he definitely has an angry/nasty side that has slipped through a few times in the last few weeks between while he's been saying he wants to change and try again. Having to deal with that nasty side feels terrifying and I guess that's why I've been trying so hard to keep it amicable. But I do feel powerless and fed-up at the moment so I guess that's not exactly working great either! At the moment he's saying he won't fight the divorce as long as he's happy with the grounds I file on but I can imagine if I insist on email communication etc. that may well change. I can see that at the moment I am going out of my way to try and keep things civil at my own expense.
A specific example of where I feel like I've been failing to disengage is when he asks me what I'm doing with my time when I don't have the children. I'll say something uninteresting like not sure yet, or even try not to answer at all but then he gets annoyed that I'm "avoiding the question" and starts telling me that I'm being rude and the reason why this isn't amicable etc.
I've been trying to find a way through this with some degree of amicability and know he'll react badly if I refuse to speak to him so guess I've been scared of doing that
He could, of course, have sought help for his aggression or even just backed off and allowed you some space, but instead he continues to harangue you to the point that you're frightened - hardly the act of a man who's learned anything is it?
His "coming to terms with it" or "struggling to think of you with anyone else" are issues for him alone - you don't even need to listen, never mind be involved with this or anything unless it concerns the DCs
You're absolutely right to step back and treat him coolly, but if this continues I'd be looking for ways to avoid seeing him at all - would someone else be able to help with handover for the DCs for example?
Oh, and about "agreeing to the divorce", he doesn't get a choice; even if it takes longer you'll be able to do it anyway and I don't suppose you're in a rush to marry anyone else short term
It's really all about control and his annoyance that you're not dancing to his tune any longer. Too bad for him, but not something you need to concern yourself over unless he gets really nasty - and then you'd need the police
But his epiphany is still not him showing empathy or compassion or understanding. All he's showing is a fear of losing a possession (you) and a cushy life, and complete deluded shock at bloody cheek of you actually leaving him a god amongst men. There is no apology in words or actions, no empathy or understanding of the pain you went through with his coldness, no epiphany that it was HIS behaviour that caused this or understanding HE is the one making life difficult for you at the moment.
It's all about you being wrong and his inability to be at fault . He doesn't care that it's not what you want. He doesn't care if it would make you unhappy. He can't even mask his aggression for a couple of weeks while he tries to charm, manipulate and guilt you back.
You need consistent and rigid grey rock. It has to be all or nothing here. You can't grey rock bits and pieces. Read up on strategies for handovers, ignore all contact that isn't about contact - and probably most of them too. Different email and phone number. Don't defend yourself or rationalise with him. Serious grey rock. All the way.
And don't believe this bollock of his promises to not not make divorce difficult if you just do this or this. That's hope overcexperience. He's going to make it difficult regardless of how compliant you are. And the conditions will change weekly. You accept one condition, he'll add another bigger one. Accept he'll be a shit, prepare for him being a shit. Hope that he has or will become a decent human being is futile and destructive.
He won’t change they never do look after yourself and children if you need a reason think back to how you felt at your lowest, don’t go there again hugs.
maybe it has taken this split for him to realise what’s he’s lost
If he wasn't constantly badgering you.. and just stayed in contact regarding the kids, would YOU be happy? If yes, then ignore him and crack on with the separation/divorce and be happy. You deserve it.
BUT.. what IF he has changed and it's taken this situation to wake him up? And now he realises what he's losing. Personally .. I don't see how someone can change THAT quickly after so many years of his consistency. But look, only you know him. Do you think anything would be different? And would you/do you want to stay married to this man?
Do not put up with this manipulation!
Grey rock. What are you doing? Not much, washing my hair.
Get a friend in to manage kid handover. Do not engage face to face, ignore all non essential emails and texts.
Tell him once in no uncertain terms what you will be doing and do it.
Fuck this gaslighting piece of work. Telling you that his behaviour is your fault. Classic abuser behavior. Fuck off. He had 10 years to sort his sorry arse out.
Good men do not behave like this. By engaging with him you are giving him what he wants and he thinks it's a sign he can change your mind, by guilt, force or whatever.
If he cannot abide by your rules and continues to harass you, you will have to go to the police.
He is an abuser. He is an emotional manipulator. You are well shot.
OP, imagine if he has changed.
That makes him an even bigger shit. He wouldn't change out of love for you and out of wanting to make you happy.
But he will change when it suits him because he wants his maid and general dogsbody back.
That makes him even more vile.
But the fact is, he hasn't changed anything except his tune.
@counters22 read up strategies at drop offs.
Keep it short and cheerful "hi!" "Come on DCs say bye to daddy, let's get bath/dinner/xyz done. See you later!" Close the door. I doubt there's ever anything urgent enough that needs discussing there and then unless there's been an emergency.
If he tries to talk "sorry stbexh need to get on, see you Tuesday/whatever!" close the door.
If he ever catches you out and tries to talk about you getting back together just be a broken record "STBXH I have already made myself clear, I will not discuss it further" rinse and repeat. If it's on the phone say that and if he carries on tell him you will end the call if he does. And then follow through.
Who gives a crap he doesn't like it. You don't owe him an explanation of what you are doing or what your plans are. Fuck his "you're avoiding the question" crap he's just trying to control you and check up on you.
Grey rock. Grey rock. Grey rock.
And if he's ever trying to come over because he's "drunk" do not placate it by promising something else. Keep the door locked. Get a chain if you have to. Tell him in no uncertain terms he is not welcome and you will not open the door as you are busy. Give him a warning and call the police if he turns up does anything untoward like trying to get in (don't know if he's the type to do that just example). Get it logged.
Also if he ever gets OTT and tries to allude to harming himself do not engage and try to "talk him off the ledge" it's not your responsibility and a lot of the time just another tactic to get your attention and time. Let him know you have taken it seriously and called the emergency services and they are on their way.
- again I don't know if he's the type to do that but just as a tip.
You asked him to address some of the issues in your marriage
He said no he wasn't bothered
You got fed up and left
He is now stamping his foot because you wont change your mind and take him back. He has changed god damm it, accept the new him.
Only engage with things about the children, and ignore everything else.
Him..What are you doing?
You.. not your business, bye, shut door
Do everything via email.
maybe it has taken this split for him to realise what’s he’s lost
Weere that so you'd expect him to behave a bit more pleasantly
But instead he's stamping his foot because OP won't come to heel ... hardly the actions of someone feeling remorse is it?
What you did when you don't have the kids is not his business.
Next time..tell him you're cleaning the oven ... then the toilet....then the kitchen sink...etc...you get the idea.
I'd guess he's asking what you're doing because he wants to know if you're seeing someone. This is none of his business. 'I'm not going to answer that, because we are no longer together,' is a fairly clear way of setting boundaries.
Thank you so much everybody for your replies, I really appreciate the advice and opinions.
@Puzzledandpissedoff Scared was possibly the wrong word... I'm emotionally drained and feel like I haven't got the strength left for being on the receiving end of guilt trips, volatile moods etc so am afraid of starting a battle I haven't got the strength for. I know I shouldn't let his words and "tantrums" bother me as much as I do, but when he's crying or calling me heartless etc I do feel guilty. He's made it clear that this is my decision alone now - including when he told my daughter that mummy wouldn't let him home (I was very annoyed about that one!). He definitely hasn't given me any space, I keep asking him not to talk to me about relationship stuff because nothing is going to change and he keeps doing it anyway. I'll have a think about who may be able to help with drop off for if this carries on...
@Thingsdogetbetter Thank you - I have told him how he's prolonging the agony and making life difficult by behaving the way he is and he's carried on doing it anyway and even said that he'd rather feel like this then have let me go. He knows this is hurting me and he is just bothered about chasing the reconciliation. He's blamed everything from me to a lack of money and childcare for our divorce. I'm definitely going to do more reading on grey rock and work out how best to apply it.
@Holothane - thank you
@Sugartitties - That's what he's saying - that we've never been at this point before and he's had time to think and see where it went wrong and how he can give me what I want now, that he does want the family life and to put me first etc. He's said he doesn't want somebody else to get the opportunities to do things with me that he should have had and that he knows he can make me happy so I should give it another chance.
@Ljenn - the first week we split while it was still mutual I was happy, yes. and when I'm not getting messages etc I enjoy the peace in my home now. I think deep down there is so much past hurt that I've switched off emotionally anyway so to give him another chance would mean deliberately fighting down a guard that I see as being there to protect me now because chances are it'd go wrong at some point -that's what experience tells me. I don't believe somebody can suddenly choose to become an empathetic person. I think the issue was that I always said it would be a better outcome to be together and happy if that was possible... so for years I kept trying and chasing the happy bit before eventually giving up... but he knows that and the fact that means I would always have a small doubt of could we have done something to make it work. I'm the same as you though that I don't believe he could have changed so drastically after literally just weeks ago telling me he doesn't "do" empathy and that I needed to accept "not everything needs to be a conversation".
@Snorkers - I think you're right and I need to toughen up. I told him on Sunday that I wouldn't be acknowledging or listening to "relationship" chats again going forward and already yesterday morning was back to having him crying in the kitchen and telling me how different things would be. I don't want to engage with him or give him what he wants, I just don't know how to handle it when he starts making out that I'm being unreasonable, heartless etc as I do start feeling guilty and doubting whether I should being more supportive. But that's where I need to toughen up I guess. I have to see him today as he wants to be here when the estate agent takes the house pictures but after that really hope I can avoid face to face contact more.
@ChristmasFluff I have had that thought - that it's crazy he wouldn't change in years of me crying and hurting, but suddenly when it's him that's hurting he does want to change after all?! If I had changed my mind after that first week and invited him back then honestly I don't think he would be trying to change now. I have said that to him but he just says I'm wrong.
@overweightcat You're right that I do need to start getting more direct and then caring less if he doesn't like it - although I think it's the way he behaves when he doesn't like it rather than the fact he doesn't like it itself that bothers me. So I suppose it's about learning how not to be bothered by his reaction? I do feel like he's checking up on me I've heard nothing from him last night when I was at home with the children, but the night before when I didn't have the children he kept me on the phone for as long as possible for no real reason and mentioned what was I doing several times. That's a really good suggestion about emergency services if he ever did threaten harm to himself, thank you for the tip.
@Greenkit Thank you, I know you're right as that does pretty much sum everything up! He's getting very frustrated that I won't take him back. I know it's not his business what I'm doing, as @SandyY2K and @JammyHands have also said... and I have tried telling him that but that's when I start getting accused of being rude, uncaring, deliberately hiding things etc. On the phone on Tuesday he actually asked me why I was out of breath and I hadn't even moved it does feel like he's paranoid and possessive which is one of the things that he actually wasn't when we were together (although I never gave him reason to be as he always knew where I was etc I guess) but he's telling me the divorce has messed with his head and that's what's made him like this. He popped round to the house one day a couple of weeks ago and I had a male friend visiting (we were sat on the sofa) and that seemed to be the trigger so now I feel some responsibility/guilt. I have tried saying that we just shouldn't discuss what we do in our personal time/that I'm not going to answer but that's when he says I must be hiding things or am creating awkwardness by being cold and rude etc. A couple of weekends ago he sent really rude texts until eventually I told him I was at my mums and then he switched immediately to being nice. I guess I'm realising speaking to you all that it's my ability to ignore what he says that I need to toughen up on.
I've just had a terrible sleep with the nearly 2 year old as he cried every time he woke and I wasn't in the room which he hasn't done for a long time since I stopped sitting with him at bedtime. I'm guessing his Dad isn't sticking to the routine when he's at his (I always put DS to bed before the split)… do you think I should mention something? Or is that just giving him something to use against me? Second guessing everything is not fun!
If he gets upset and starts accusing you of being a certain way remember that's on him not you. "Sorry you feel that way" change subject/end the convo. It's not on you to placate him and try to justify yourself to him. He knows why you split. It's just another way to get you to pander to him and get your attention.
I bet you've noticed or will do once you start grey rock that as soon as you stop pandering and stay factual/only entertain conversations about DCs and so on his demeanour will change to angry pretty quick.
Of course he tries to keep you on the phone as long as possible, I mean he can't let you have a life outside of the home or God forbid meet someone else that will treat you right can he now.
Learn to end the conversation, if he starts questioning it/getting shitty just stick to it and end it.
"Ok stbexh I better go now bye" "why are you being so cold and avoiding the subject? Do you not want to talk to me?" "I'm busy/have things to do see you at drop off" rinse and repeat 2 warnings and hang up. Don't pander to his attempts at guilt tripping you.
You owe him nothing apart from facilitating contact with DCs.
He doesn't have to know if you start dating.
He doesn't have to know your plans.
It's not your job to placate and reassure him or justify yourself when he's "upset". It's on him that he's feeling that way because you're not letting him pry into your personal life.
Do you need to let him into the house? Can't he drop DCs off at the door?
Gosh, it's all about him isn't it
Your upsetting him
You've ruined the marriage
You won't give him a chance
Your being unreasonable
You won't tell him what your doing
He doesn't want anyone else to share your life
In reality he wouldn't step up and change when you ask him and you had enough. Even if you did take him back he would revert back to type in a few months, you might get a good year....
Once he has the children, don't engage in any telephone conversation at all.
Drop offs and puck ups at the door, or get someone else to do them for you
He's had ample chances to sort his shit out before you got to this point, he just didn't care enough to notice that you were not happy.
Get yourself a cheap pay as you go phone and just use that phone for him to make arrangements for the children. Set up a new email address just for him. Block him on your own phone so he can't keep bombarding you, which is a form of control. He's forcing you to think about him when you don't want to. If he turns up at your house and makes you feel scared or threatened, call the police to remove him.
My ex was like this when i dumped him. One second mr nice trying to prove how much he had changed and the next second telling me what a nasty person i was for making him feel like that. My ex was abusive and his behaviour after the break up was just an extension of his abuse.
I'd be tempted to see a solicitor and send a letter before action asking him to leave you alone bar childcare and other practical matters. Get a cheap PAYG phone and a new email address and ask him to only contact you through those. Block him on your main phone.
Consider an occupation order and non-molestation order if he persists.
This is abuse on his part. Doesn't matter that he's not violent or he couches everything in terms of his hurt feelings. He's terrorising you with his behaviour. You need to get tough.
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