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think my relationship may be about to end ...due to lack of interest

(46 Posts)
regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 13:54:14

looking for a bit of MN wisdom on this, although not sure what anyone can say- maybe it will help me just to write it all down

me and DH have been together 15 years, married for 7, we have two DDS DD1 is 6 DD2 is 3

I don't think either of us is terribly happy and I think he is possibly quite unhappy

I am on Anti-depressants and have been for about 12 months as this time last year all I could do was cry (well, apart from work and look after the kids that is - any spare time - I cried)

we are going to counselling at present but he doesn't want to talk about it outside the sessions so I don't know how he is finding that

basically the pattern of our relationship has been that he generally doesn't want to talk about it - I think he doesn't even want to think about it

we get on ok. we do have unpleasant rows but not so much since I've been on the ADS. Neither of us are violent or physically abusive. The kids don't like the rows but they don't happen much and are normally about things too banal to even articulate. Our eldest daughter's behaviour is very erratic which I think may be linked though.

we have sex a couple of times a month. He initiates it. I have a higher libido but got sick of being rebuffed so don't bother to initiate anymore. He is not spontaneously physical twoards me in any way. ALthough he does sometimes pucker up for a kiss when I get home from work.

We share the childcare approx 60:40 me:him as we both work. I do all finances. I do all sorting of childcare. I do all shopping and cleaning or organising of cleaning. He does most of the cooking, I gave up as he interfered too much. He likes to interfere in everything I do and will always tell me the right way to do things. To the extent I have stopped doing lots of things - well, mostly cooking, DIY etc. I have my hobbies which he doesn't interfere with. He doesn't try to control my friends, who I see or what I do outside in any way. Although he can be very dismissive of things/people.

He never wanted to get married and never wanted kids. I did. I said we should split up when it reached an impasse and we did. He came back and said let's do it. There was never much enthusiasm. He is a good dad, he loves them and minds them well. He gets very frsutrated though and does lose his temper often. Not in a scarey way but in a ranting about the house way. he says "Jesus Christ" in a loud voice a lot. I asked him to stop in our first counselling session and he tried but he is doing it again now. And I ask him again every time to stop.

He drinks too much, in an articulate middle class continental beer and wine drinking kind of way. He doesn't get unpleasantly drunk but drinks about 60-80 units a week. Presumably his lack of interest in sex is linked.

I would like not to drink much but end up drinking with him as it is all we do together. I don't drink nearly as much as him anymore though (i used to drink a lot before had kids) He hates going out on trips with the kids. We take them to the local park/swimming pool at a push. We sometimes take them to an art gallery.

I went to our counsellor on my own last week as he couldn't make it and everything poured out. She thought that the relationship was being run too much on his terms and that I might need to confront him. He didn't ask what happened at the session. Last night I said that maybe he should think about moving out for a bit in case he might be happier. He said he didn't know what he wanted and opened another bottle of wine.

I feel we are more like brother and sister (or mother and adolescent son) than man and wife.

I don't feel like a woman.

I think we may need to split. I think he will never push it but I think deep down he probably wants it. He is probably too kind (he is a kind man) and scared to face it. I am very frightened at the prospect too (have been a serial monogomist since about 15 yo - terrifying the prospect of no partner) but feel I am just having to molly coddle him along through everything at this stage. To the detriment of my own enjoyment of life.

I don't think I am going to read over this as if I do I'll probably not post it. I'm going to do some work now and try to stop thinking about this but would be very interested to hear if anyone else has found themselves in a similar situation and if so what you did/didn't do.

solidgoldbrass Mon 01-Sep-08 14:00:12

I am sorry for all of you but this is a classic Awful Warning of what a bad idea it is to pressure a reluctant individual into marriage and parenthood. It will always end up like this because marriage and parenthood simply don't suit everyone.

Use the counselling to negotiate as amicable a split as possible: both you and your DH sound like decent people who shouldn't be wasting your lives stagnating like this. You will be amazed how much happier you will probably feel once the decision is taken.

Carmenere Mon 01-Sep-08 14:01:58

I agree with SGB. You sound truly miserable and so does he. I don't know if you both will be happier apart but it might be worth a try and it does sound as if you could do it amicably which of course would be best for the dc's.

Anna8888 Mon 01-Sep-08 14:05:28

60 to 80 units a week????????????

This is appalling. He has an addiction. No wonder you are all so unhappy.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:11:53

god, really? so cut and dried. So this isn't what other folk experience in their marriages then? I think I know the answer to this...I think we are both just scared. We have been together a long time. We do still enjoy each others company, sometimes. But it's all just a big strain. And I am resentful that I am doing most of the straining while he is just being unhappy and opting out. Why did no-one warn me of this 7 years ago? (rhetorical question really) - I left it up to him and he said he would do it. I should have known but I was younger and had no real idea...

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:15:53

anna8888 - to be fair to him he has gone to two separate GPs now and tried to talk about his drinking (at my instigation). However it seems if you are articulate, middle class, hold down a good job, look otherwise fit and healthy they send you away with a suggestion to moderate things a bit. He tried to cut back after xmas and was doing well (ish) but it's back up now. And tbh it is boring to have to listen to him congratulate himself on a low units night the night before when I know he had something like 6 units - that is a low night for him. If he doesn't drink he is like a beast and can't talk or interact with us in any way.

Anna8888 Mon 01-Sep-08 14:17:06

He needs Alcoholics Anonymous, not the GP.

Sorry to be so harsh about it. But he is an addict. There is no getting away from it.

solidgoldbrass Mon 01-Sep-08 14:19:25

Look, RO, he never wanted to remain in the relationship but didn't want to hurt you. He probably thought that it would 'do', somehow, that everyone 'has to settle down sometimes' and that you could 'make a go of it'. Did you issue your original ultimatum because you loved him so much or was it a case of worrying that your childbearing years were running out and here was a decent, solvent, passable-looking man?

There is no point at all in dragging on and on like this: the sooner you end it the better your relationship (as co-parents to your DC rather than romantic/sexual partners) will be.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:20:55

surely the Gp should have told him that? I have tried. I assumed the GP would and then he might seek some help as he wouldn't go to AA with only me to pressurise him. All his family drink like this. They think it is normal.

I was very surprised by GP's attitude.

Anna8888 Mon 01-Sep-08 14:22:55

I think you should go and see your GP and talk to him/her about your H's drinking and your relationship problems. See what the GP says to you.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:24:31

SGB I suspect you are right - although it's hard to hear (you don't mince your words do you?!)

If I am honest I was worrying my childbearing years were running out, although I did also love him. And he wasn't actually solvent at that stage, I was! I think I knew there were issues, but I thought they were down to our differences about the children/marriage thing and that they'd get sorted out once we'd worked that one out. I think you are right that he figured we would be able to "make a go of it".

oh bollocks

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:27:31

Anna8888 - I did. I am now on ADs and we are going to counselling. That was the outcome. GP told DH to come and talk about the drinking separately, and he did, and was advised to moderate it. Dh is depressed I think - although he didn't come up as such on GP's radar thingy, but DH will talk around questions rather than give the straight black and white answer that registers on the radar. Of course whether he drinks because he is depressed or is depressed because he drinks or is depressed because "forced" into marriage/fatherhood or what I don't know. All I know is he drank even more when I met him first.

solidgoldbrass Mon 01-Sep-08 14:27:36

RO: sorry to be a bit harsh. It irritates me (not you personally) that people do this to themselves and each other when it is not compulsory to 'settle down' and quite a lot of people would be better off (and better, nicer people) for acknowledging that it's not for them.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:31:41

well I did want to settle down. It was him that didn't. He should have made hsi own decision. It's not my fault he didn't. It wasn't mine to make for him. I did (do) love him. Typical. He'll force me to make the decision for us to split up too. I wonder if he is capable of making a decision.

bollocks again

mummydoc Mon 01-Sep-08 14:33:18

i agree with anna8888 - your dh sounds like he is seriously in danger of being alcoholic . 60 units a week is a huge amount, it sound slike he is self-medicating with alcohol. unfortunately docotros can only do something if the individual asks for help, so you gogin to talk to the gp will get you sympathy but not much else, your gp can offer to refer you husband to the local drug and alcohol team but only if your dh goes and asks him to.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:35:32

sorry, didn't mean to get all defensive.I do appreciate your input SGB, am just fed up at the whole situation, especially how obvious it all seems to an outsider, especially when it is starting to look like that to me too.

sweetwithakick Mon 01-Sep-08 14:46:35

I think that your situation is more common than everyone is letting on - maybe not the amount of alcohol tho. Me and my DH went through bad stage 8 years ago and relate counselling got us back on course - so much so that twins were concieved on Millenium night doubling our family in one swoop (oops). Keep on with the counselling - it can work even if just one of you wants it more.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:56:11

do you reckon sweetwak? I dunno - feels like it is always me trying to save everything and he doesn't even want to think about it, nevermind talk about it. Oh yeah he generally comes to the counselling (although he tries to wriggle out) but won't let us talk about it afterwards. I'm just getting sick of it really. knowing me I'll stay just cos I'm thinking "oooh, am turning 40, will never find someone else, don't want to be lonely for the rest of my life, we get on ok really"...which is really just the one decade on version of the 30something biological clock ticking thing (eh SBG?!)

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 14:57:34

SGB rather, sorry.

right, gotta do some work or that'll be in trouble too

will pop back in a while in the hope that someone has a perfect solution for me, though I know there isn't one really

sweetwithakick Mon 01-Sep-08 15:04:45

I went through that -it's always me -stage too. In fact I still am tho I have learnt to stop taking care of everything which kind of forces his hand to do things. As for his not talking after your counselling sessions does he participate in them at the time?

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 15:12:00

yes, in fact he does most of the talking in the sessions. He goes off on his own tangents, sort of analysing himself...he is very cerebral. When we get out it's as though he feels, that was that, now we'll leave that until its space in time next month.

it's very tedious really

unavailable Mon 01-Sep-08 15:12:17

sweetwithakick is right - your situation sounds alot like mine, including the alcohol. I dont have the answers (clearly, as if I did I wouldnt still be in the situation.) In some ways, I think my dp and I are both rather disappointed in how life has turned out for us, but too scared to make big life-changing decisions or changes in case we regret them later. I think the alcohol is used as an anesthetic.

I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.

regularlyoverwhelmed Mon 01-Sep-08 15:19:57

yes, I recognise the "alcohol as anaesthetic" syndrome

It's a bit crap though isn't it? I'm sick of living this half-life. But then what would life without him be. Bloody hard and a different sort of half-life probably.

Anyway, I've just emailed him that I think we need to talk, honestly and openly. So maybe he'll surprise me and come blazing in saying he wants to leave...or swearing his undying love. Doubt it, he'll probably just crack open a bottle of wine...

I think we are like you unavailable, both too frightened to make any decisions. Shit will hit the fan if one of us ever found someone else, as that'd be the catalyst to change things. I'd prefer to make whatever decisions we need to make without that sort of external pressure. At the moment I don't doubt for second that he would respond positively if someone he liked gave him the come-on.

unavailable Mon 01-Sep-08 15:33:53

Yes, sometimes I feel that I need some outside circumstance to force my hand (e.g.affair for either him or me, I really dont care which)and am rather ashamed that I have become so cowardly about taking charge of my own life. Other times, though, I feel we really should be together as we have invested so much over 16 years. I cant really imagine life without him. When do you know a relationship has run its course?

bananafish Mon 01-Sep-08 15:50:33

Hmm, well, 70 units a week is around a bottle of wine a night. That’s a lot, and it is certainly damaging to your health, but before I gave up drinking, I could certainly finish a bottle of wine by myself and I know couples who will open a couple of bottles of wine over the course of an evening and they wouldn’t consider themselves to have an alcohol problem. Does he think he has one? Not saying he doesn’t, but maybe that is why the GP just told him to cut down rather than refer him on to an advisory service?

Anyway – you do sound quite detached and disengaged. That’s not good. But you also sound a bit resentful and perversely, I think that’s better, because at least you do feel something for him, and you say you do still love him.

I asked myself lots of questions (through counselling) when I found myself in a similar position. These sorts of questions helped me clarify what I wanted to do.
What would you like to happen – do you want him to change? If so, what sort of changes would you see that would make you happier? Do you want him to be more “present” in the relationship? Do you want to see him make an effort? How would that show itself? Do you want him to stop drinking? Are you feeling guilty about railroading him into marriage and kids? Why? He decided he wanted to do it too.

Does it all seem a bit overwhelming? It does take a lot of energy to make it out the other side, and only you can decide if you think it is worth it. But, personally, I don’t think it’s the easier choice necessarily, to split up. If you can find stuff that you still like about him, you can build on that. As can he. You might need to be a bit more proactive about it though, rather than festering in quiet irritation at his behaviour. If you challenge him, and nothing happens, at least you’ll know you gave it a go and you’ll have an answer.

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