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Why I am finding it hard to leave...

(11 Posts)
DrosophilaM Sat 29-Aug-20 08:51:38

NC for this. I have posted before a few months back... wanted to get everything down in one go and hopefully not drip feed. I'm not sure whether I am after advice, or just writing my thoughts down to process them.

Met my DW initially as friends and then in an on/off relationship before we both were in the same city and were together for quite a while before marrying. Been married 4 years and now pushing into late 30s. For a lot of this time we had similar aspirations (careers and house etc) - we are both ambitious and hard working and work long hours in demanding jobs. So she has been my only real relationship.

There are lots we have in common, and generally we are good for each other. But we are both quite stubborn I guess - and I freely admit that she is the dominant one in the relationship. Its never been rip your clothes off romantic passion - but caring, supportive etc. Around 6 years ago the pressures of life started to build - buying houses, jobs, family bereavements and family members with long illnesses. We had some setbacks but we fought through...we both are pretty resilient. She devoted a lot of time towards supporting her family which went on over many years and I spent my time trying to be as supportive as possible. When she was away I would work hard to ensure everything around the house was done so that her life was as stress free as possible. She had to deal with some bereavements and work pressures.. she left work for a while but a couple of years ago that was put behind us. We were now mid thirties..I wanted to start a family but by this point we were already in a sexless marriage due to all the stressors described above.

Since then I have grown to hate/fear sex. The pressure to conceive when it was so infrequent (once or twice a year) and maybe a subconscious feeling that something wasn't there emotionally. None of initiated and its now been like that for 3-4 years. I guess we have had sex less than five times during that time.

For a number of years deep down I have known something wasn't right but I was enjoying our life. However over the past 18 months my mental health deteriorated and I got help. I came to the realisation that I wont have children.... and it made me upset. We'd never really had the "kid" chat .. in fact we never really discuss our relationship. We are both introverted in that aspect. I have tried so hard to start communications... I explained that being in a housemate marriage wasn't working for me. She said it was normal, but she thought having a bit more sex would be good. She

There was another element to it as well - as I said, she is the dominant in the relationship and as I have grown older I've realised that I want a more equal partnership. With the help of therapy etc, I have been working on my assertiveness and addressing issues. Over the past 10 months I have tried to talk through a lot of what I feel is wrong in the relationship and also say to my wife when I don't like how she treats me. She is often critical of me - for example when I say I felt like I was doing more of the household chores she would say that it was my fault as I was too slow and that she would have done it quicker. Sometimes I ask her to apologise when she turns out to be wrong and she just says 'never'. Since trying to be more assertive, she says that I'm now rude and she doesn't think the change is positive. She has admitted in the past that she has anger issues and said

I've suggested couples counselling which was agreed verbally but she never asked again. I'm not sure how much help it will be so after lining up a few people I thought I could work with, I left it. A couple of months ago I stopped trying to initiate heart to hearts with her and not a word has been said since regarding the state of our relationship. She withdrew and there have been periods where she just wont talk to me. In the past few days that's waned and she has become a bit warmer. I freely admit (and I am sure I will get roasted) but I have withdrawn affection since the beginning of the year... she knows that but has never asked me why. I cant force it ... its what I am feeling.

She is more dedicated to her work than ever. She has started to work 15 hour days if not longer. I tell her its unsustainable, that surely everyone else at work isn't doing those hours. (She has always worked long hours, but not like this). I've asked her to work less, she doesn't want to. I have been doing pretty much everything around the house when she has been working like this. I love my job....and there have been the odd days where I do 15 hour days but for her its constant. And in 2 months there will be another period of the same again.

So we have no kids, financially we are doing very well. With a bit of reshuffling we could both continue to live the same lifestyle. But I can't bring myself to say I see no future in the relationship. And that's made me second guess myself that I would be making a wrong decision and I will regret it for the rest of my life. For the past 9 months I haven't slept, I've broken down mentally and now I am having some physical issues. Lockdown hasn't helped - I struggle with change and for the first few weeks I felt my world crumbling. In tears, my wife would just tell me to get on with it and that everyone else was in the same boat. I just don't know where to turn. She seems relatively unaffected....

I'm not even sure couples counselling will work - in my head I've come up with a concept of giving myself 30 days to start laying my full hand on the table. I told her I want to start a family, but I've never been sure she does. Since our heart to hearts she has been adamant that she has wanted kids all this time and that I've now denied her the chance. I have 14 nieces and nephews and get on great with them all. She told me that I would be an awful Dad. Friends have said that I only want to couples counselling to prove to the world I had tried everything.

So yea... any words of advice I guess or just thoughts or observations.

OP’s posts: |
category12 Sat 29-Aug-20 09:29:10

You need to take the leap and leave.

You both have time to find someone else and have dc if you want, but it wouldn't be right or fair to children to bring them into this relationship.

I know it's hard, but really this is not good for either of you, and it sounds like it's abusive for you. So you need to split.

Keep up the individual counselling so you're match-fit and have good boundaries for a future relationship.

Yeahmetoo Sat 29-Aug-20 09:35:50

Gosh. I don't think you would regret leaving. I'm struggling beyond the financial side of things to see why you are still there.

I think when you reach the point that you have spent 9 months feeling mentally broken and that is then having physical consequences it isn't going to get better. If you want different results you have to do something different. The place you are in now is not a good one, and how long of consistent hard work would it take to get to a good place? Do you think you both could find the drive to put in the long term consistent attention and devotion to your relationship that it would take to get it to a good place?

She sounds like a brick wall in terms of communication. I'm sorry if this sounds awful but I wonder if she is in the same place mentally to some extent? Doesn't want to be in the relationship but doesn't know how to get out of it, is scared of doing so and the massive change that would bring. Hence her burying herself in work, means she doesn't have to face the reality of what is going on in her home life as she will be either working or sleeping.

In all honesty I think, for you, and that's all that matters where you are concerned, doing the best for YOU, the best would be to start afresh and make the break. And sure, it would be really hard and emotionally gut wrenching, but is your current situation easy? Do you have any moments of hope? At least making a break you would have the hope of a bright future in amongst the turmoil of a separation from time to time.

DrosophilaM Sat 29-Aug-20 10:21:26

Re glimmers of hope. I guess that's one reason why I am not sure counselling would be that worthwhile because the best I see is that we get back to is maybe where we were in the years before life pressures. And even then the sex was infrequent and I think I probably was unfulfilled but then other elements of the relationship made me feel happy.

I think its a combination of growing up a lot...(I freely admit I was emotionally immature until I started therapy) and that now we have the careers and the house, it feels like something is missing.

I think at our age (38) the chance of her having her own children if we split has passed. This has weighed heavily on my conscious and maybe one reason why I have struggled.

And what do I do... do I just pack a bag and walk out after all this time. Do I suggest a more staggered process of moving out for a while for space, but not saying its definitely over. With the latter, I'd be interested to see whether she would then fight for the relationship and whether that would be telling. Because like the PP said... at the moment its a communication brick wall

OP’s posts: |
category12 Sat 29-Aug-20 10:31:32

Women can have children in their early 40s. Yes, it's leaving it late, but the longer you leave it, the less likely it is she would have that opportunity with someone else if she does really want children.

But your relationship together is a shit-show that you shouldn't have children in.

Palavah Sat 29-Aug-20 10:36:49

Read your post back. Is this the life that you would want for someone that you care about - a friend, a child? Is it what you want for yourself?

Also - you've talked about life's pressures. Aside from trying to conceive, it doesn't sound as though there's an awful lot (relatively!) that's upsetting your apple carts right now. You're both healthy, with jobs, no money worries. Is this honestly the relationship you want to grow old with?

If you feel bad about breaking up with a 38 year old woman who wants kids then you would feel worse about breaking up with a 40 year old.

DrosophilaM Sat 29-Aug-20 15:15:21

Whats weird as well is that I'm becoming increasingly resentful that she doesn't want to talk about it. I just wish she would at least engage.... I have a feeling she isn't happy but that's a second guess. For a couple of months she stopped saying 'I love you' .. but now she does. Maybe she does love me, but I feel so guilty that I can't love her or be affectionate.

She said that she doesn't want to have sex as I don't make her feel romantic - I don't woo her. Neither one of us makes an effort... or hasn't for a number of year. I'm sure she feels rejected by me ... but likewise I feel rejected by her. I keep in shape, I do a big slug of chores around the house. I just wish she would explain to me to help me process it a bit

Does anyone have any experience of splitting when there are no children involved. What does the other side look like... a year on, if there is no reason to keep is it likely that you drift apart?

OP’s posts: |
Dery Sat 29-Aug-20 16:06:19

“Women can have children in their early 40s. Yes, it's leaving it late, but the longer you leave it, the less likely it is she would have that opportunity with someone else if she does really want children.

But your relationship together is a shit-show that you shouldn't have children in.”

This. During the early years, having children puts serious pressure on even the most contented of relationships. Your relationship with your partner isn’t equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of having children.

You will almost certainly be able to father children into your 40s and 50s. If she does want to have children, the longer you delay ending the relationship, the less chance she has to have children with someone with whom she’s more compatible.

You’ve both given the relationship your best shot. You can’t make it work. It’s time to move on. Don’t let your fear of being judged stop you taking this step. Life is not a dress rehearsal so don’t waste any more of her time or yours.

DrosophilaM Sun 30-Aug-20 22:32:50

Thanks for all the advice so far.

My wife is very close to her sister. Would it be wrong to chat to my SIL and ask that the conversation remains private (or initially anywhere). I know she has most likely opened up to her over the past year and her sister knows a lot of what we've been through....

Also, does anyone have any experience of splitting when no children are involved. I really love being a part of my SIL children and would hate to think I would never see them again

OP’s posts: |
DrosophilaM Tue 01-Sep-20 09:47:08

I think its hard because I think my DW thinks that actually its a lot better than I do.

She has played the "its ok for you being a guy.. you can have DC whenever... you will take away my chance as now its too late"

I think its unfair to say that - or am I being unreasonable?

OP’s posts: |
Palavah Tue 01-Sep-20 09:52:42

If your wife is close to her sister then your SIL isn't going to keep secrets for you, so don't ask her to.

If you want to leave, leave now. It's not necessarily too late for your wife to have children but if you string this out, it will be.

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