Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How do you tell your husband your marriage is over?

(38 Posts)
marriedbutmiserable Thu 03-Mar-05 20:47:00

Have changed name for this as am regular poster and just can't deal with all the ins and outs of my domestic situation over the last few months. Suffice to say, thinbgs have got worse, not better, but for some reason dh just won't confront things.

Our basic problems are that we don't see eye to eye on anything, from parenting approach, to managing money. We are unable to communicate anything more than the most superficial issues without some barbed comments. DS is 3 and really picks up on the negative atmosphere, and I think it is starting to affect his behaviour. (We also have a baby DD). Despite all that, I am fond of DH, he is the father of my children, and though I no longer love him, my feelings towards him are deep and complex and I don't want to hurt him.

He has been married before (no kids) and would rather gouge his eyes out than go through another divorce.

In the bluntest possible terms, he doesn't want us to spilt because he's afraid I will take the children away from him (I wouldn't), and I have so far done nothing because of the financial implications. Most of the time, drifting along like this is a lot easier than actually forcing a decision.

BUT, it was my birthday recently and I've felt so depressed since then. I can't cope with the idea that I'll feel this bad - or worse - this time next year. At the same time, I spend and unhealthy amount of time thinking about another man whom I've got to know recently. I know that my feelings for this other guy say more about my feelings about what's gone wrong with dh than anything else. That doesn't stop me thinking about him all the time.

My DH is quite unstable, and also the jealous vindictive type. If I tell him I don't love him any more, and i feel the children are being hurt by our rows, and that as a result I want us to separate, I know his reaction will be malicious and childish. So how can I broach the issue in as "amicable" a way as possible? I can't face any further deterioration in our home life, but at the same time, I think things have got to the point where we just can't carry on like this.

kjq Thu 03-Mar-05 21:06:07

I'm no good at this sort of advice probably cos I'm scared it might backfire on me one day. All I can say is that I feel for your anguish right now and ask that you don't rush into any big decisions. Sorry for not really helping

SleepyJess Thu 03-Mar-05 21:21:43

Hiya. You say if you split, you won't take the children from him. Will you leave without them then, leave them with him? Not judging.. just asking to get a clearer picture..

SJ x

marriedbutmiserable Thu 03-Mar-05 21:30:10

when I say he fears I'll take them from him, what I mean is, he thinks I;ll decide to up sticks and move 100 miles away, or deliberately obstruct his access to them in an attempt to hurt him.

The truth is, I just feel desperately sad that I made such a mistake in marrying the wrong man, and bringing 2 little lives into our difficulties seems so unfair. He is a good father and a nice enough man, and I would never use our children to get to him maliciously. I just don't think there's any point in the 2 of us staying together when all we have in common is out children, so that we then split up as soon as the youngest leaves home.

marriedbutmiserable Thu 03-Mar-05 21:31:12

and no, of course i would never leave them with him. at the moment, he works, I stay at home and look after the children. They are only 3 and 10 months.

SleepyJess Thu 03-Mar-05 22:30:57

MBM.. you deserve better than to stay in a situation where you are not happy until your youngest leaves home. In fact you both do. Do you think counselling could help, together, or you on your own to try and sort our how you feel/if the marriage can be saved? (The thought of it may be cringable but actually doing it is easier once you begin it.) And is there any chance that your feelings (or the strength of them) for this other guy could be stemming from the need to escape from an unhappy relationship? I only ask because I have been there.. and could have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire so to speak.. luckily it hasn't worked out like that and I have been married to my 'other man' for nearly ten years. It CAN work.

Why is DH so deadset against 'another divorce'? Have you already dicussed the situation - and how you feel about the marriage - at all then? Or was he jsut talking in general terms? People can't stay married to people because they don't want the shame (or whatever it is he's thinknig)of getting divorced twice.. he must know that.

Sorry not to be more helpful.. you are in a crap situation and I remember how it feels.

SJ x

marriedbutmiserable Fri 04-Mar-05 06:59:46

Yes, I'm sure that my feelings for the other guy say a lot more about my feelings for dh than anything else. That said, the other guy also represents everything dh is not - active, fit, charming, funny, and I find him very attractive.

Haven't had sex with dh for over 4 months now and have no desire to, but i am a young woman and still have sexual feelings, which have found an outlet in this new object of desire. Fortunately, he lives quite a way away and I don't see him often so temptation isn't on my doorstep.

We have had counselling in the past - 2 big periods of it - and all it did for us was get us to the ponit where dh could say he recognised what problems in his behaviour were, but then did nothing to address them. I also recognised my own issues, but am actually trying to deal with them. All in all, each session was more of a refereed argument than anything else.

He doesn't want a divorce as he feels he left a marriage he could have saved before (he left his wife for his secretary - how original!), had he bothered to put in the work. Says there was nothing wrong with his first wife, and he ruined her life and his own for years afterwards with what he did, when he could have fixed it if he'd tried. Instead, he just walked out the door.

He was about the age I am now when his first marriage broke up and so equates all of those things to me and my feelings, when in fact my feelings towards him are mine, not a pastiche of something he went through years ago.

I just feel we have come to the end of our road together and want to find the best way out of it without more blame and recrimination than is necessary. I know he won't be the same about it, as he can be a bully, and also quite childish. he has no relationship with his family, so the kids and I are all he has, and he'll hang on to us tooth and nail.

Has anyone ever managed to separate in an adult way - just say "Look, we don't make each other happy any more; for the sake of our children, let's part on good terms"? Or is it always bitter and hurtful?

SJ, you say you're with your "other man" - does that mean you left your dh for him? What happened?

SleepyJess Fri 04-Mar-05 08:36:28


Yes I've been really lucky.. and it's worked out although I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few problems initially with my new relationship. I think that ending my previous marriage the way I did gave me a lot of guilt and 'baggage' even though the marriage was no good. And I felt at the time that my 'other man' was 'the real thing' whilst my marriage was a mistake I had made because we were too young (both 19!) But looking back, I think I was blinded by all the strong feelings I had for my new guy.. who could easily have been another Mr Wrong.. I wasn't giving much/any thought to how much of it was genuine. When you lose any depth of feeling for the person you're with, even if you are prepared to say 'I've made my bed, so I'm sleeping in it'.. this doesn't stop you being open to falling for someone else (whether they are long term prospects or not) it's probably never a good idea to try and ride it out purely for the children, esp. when the children are so young.. and if you really really don't have any of the feelings you once had or perhaps should have for your partner.

Conflicting messages I know.. but that is how I look back on it all.. it did work out.. but more because hy current DH is a decent guy who turned out to have very deep feelings for me. Most guys probably wouldn't have taken the crap I dished out the first year we were together!

And I'd be lying if I said the split with ex-H was 'adult'.. it was a bit messy to say the least. Ex-H seemed genuinely devastated and depsite my lack of actual 'love' for him, I didn't/don't hate him and telling him there was someone else was the single hardest thing I have ever done. It could have been worse.. he handled it in the end.. started seeing other people and is now married with another child with his new wife and we actually laugh about the old days.. are on v.good terms etc.. but are not on the same wavelength really.. and only maintain our 'relationship' because of our DS together.

I wish I could advise you. When it comes down to it, it's a gut feeling.. you have to do what feels right. I had no way of knowing how ex-H was going to react (at one point thought he might be about to do serious damage to my new bloke.. or at least his car! ). but I knew I had to do it. You can't stay with a guy purely 'for the kids' and the fact that yours are so young is good really. DS was 2 - and I honestly don't think he has suffered.. and I actually moved away up North with him and new guy (who is from the North) and lived there for 7 years! Ex-H handled this because I said that I would never let Ds grow apart from him.. that we would always visit.. that he would always be the only one that DS called Daddy (at least as long as DS never showed any inclination to call current DH daddy.. and he never has although they have a father/son realtionship) and that he would always have first option of spending time with DS when we were in town. We have since moved back and DS goes there nearly every weekend again.. a very stable, settled situation on the whole.

Your H must have more than an idea how unhappy you are.. so if were to start discussing it with him and keep reiterating that you will not and will never prevent him from being daddy to his kids, then it may take some time, but I suppose it would have to sink in, in the end. After all, what's the point of a 'marriage' that isn't one.. just an arrangement?

Good luck. Sorry if I've not helped much.. can only say how it was for me, which might not be all that relevent.

SJ x

HappyDaddy Fri 04-Mar-05 08:49:23

Hi MBM, sorry if this isn't helpful. If he says he could have saved his first marriage if he just tried harder, tell him that he needs to try now or he'll lose you very very soon. May sound hars but, ime, men don't respond very well to subtlety. Give him an ultimatum, tell him he either bucks up or it's over, make it clear how bad things are. If he gets all childish and vindictive, then have the locks changed while he's out and leave his stuff on the front step, he wont fail to get the message then.
Either way you will find a solution, short term pain is better than long term pain. Hope you can work something out that makes you happy.

Expectantmum Fri 04-Mar-05 08:50:55

My situation was pretty much the same as SJ, although there were no children involved. I was very unhappy in my marriage, although I have to add that my ex was the original male-chauvanist! I fell in love with someone else whilst still married and decided to give the new relationship a chance, although I wasn't sure whether I had just reached out to someone else because I was unhappy. That was three years ago, and although the situation still drags out with my ex (we have a house together that he wouldn't sell, but we have now sold and await completion of that) the first year of my new relationship was pretty bad because I wasn't sure what I wanted. My new partner is everything I ever dreamed of and now I am 23 wks pg, we're engaged and hope to get married in the next 12 months and hope to buy a house together in the not too distant future. I have never been happier in my life and now I look back, all the hell was worth it to have what I have now. The situation is different for you because of the children, but do you think that staying will be fair on any of you, including the children? I think at some stage you have to put your own feelings first and make a big decision, could it be possible that you have a trial separation for, say, a month and see how you feel after that time? Time apart might make you realise you either do or don't have feelings enough with your hubby to try and make it work, but at least you'll know for sure, although I would try not to bring another an into the equation just yet, as that could make it more difficult, both for your hubby and your children. Its not going to be easy and at times you will wonder whether you have made the right choice, but you need to be happy too. My heart goes out to you x

HappyDaddy Fri 04-Mar-05 08:55:44

Staying together for the children doesn't work, ime. You and partner will still fight or niggle at each other and the kids will pick up on the atmosphere and be miserable.

regularuser Fri 04-Mar-05 09:28:28

I don't have any advice, but sympathise greatly, i feel the same. I do love my h, but his constant mood swings and unreasonable demands of me have finally taken their toll, and i am not sure if i can carry on with it anymore. I know i could cope without him, but he wouldn't cope without me, and the guilt of that makes it easier to stay.

fanta Fri 04-Mar-05 11:41:12

Sorry to hear about your problems, I sympathise totally. Sounds like you are worrying too much about his feelings and not yours. Go to counselling again, I went knowing full well it wont resolve anything because I knew our relationship had run its course, but my ex didn't really want to admit that to himself (although he had been cheating for years!!). Counselling helped for me to find a safe place to make us both accept that the relationship was over.

marriedbutmiserable Fri 04-Mar-05 15:42:37

HappyDaddy, I gave him an ultimatum along those lines back in January. He obviously feels he has done everything possible to show me how far he'll go to save things, and to be fair, he has, but it's been clear in every little thing he does that it's done because he thinks I expect it, and not because he thinks it's important. I suppose when 2 people have fundamentally differing views on most things, that can't help but show.

SJ, your experience is very helpful, thank you for sharing it with me. I'm glad things worked out for you in the end. Maybe one day I;ll get there too.

Seems that h has beaten me to it in any case. I decided to go to a friend's this morning with ds (we've been snwoed in all week and he was going stor crazy). H expressed his usual view that I'll do anything not to be around him, i'm always either at friends' on the computer, or in the kitchen. All true, but that's because we can't exchange a nice word. Anyway, he was really odd about itand when I came back (having dropped DS at nursery) he said that he was seeing a solicitor next week and was going to find himself a 1-bed flat as cheaply as possible in London next week. He said "I have to get away from you or I'm going to kill myself".

When I asked him a few things about the practicalities of selling the house, what that means for ds' schooling (we currently live in the catchment area of a good school, but with what I'd get out of the sale of this house, I won't be able to afford this area any more), he went beserk and said I should have thought of that when I was busy making his life hell for the last 2 years. As if he's had nothing to do with the breakdown of our relationship!

What the hell, it doesn't matter now anyway. He's going, and it's very clear that he's going to flounce off to london and I;ll be left here to deal with our everyday life - telling friends, the children, arranging the sale of the house, finding somewhere new... he said that where I and the children live is "not my concern". Twat.

I don't know why I feel so broken and raw, when all I've thought about for the last 6 months is how I can go about separating from him.

marriedbutmiserable Fri 04-Mar-05 15:43:41

PS, anyone know how much a 1-bed flat in central london is likely to cost to rent?

Cod Fri 04-Mar-05 15:44:13

Message withdrawn

Cam Fri 04-Mar-05 15:58:51

mbm, I think you should go to a solicitor yourself pronto to find out what your rights are.

Cod Fri 04-Mar-05 15:59:51

Message withdrawn

SleepyJess Fri 04-Mar-05 16:24:28

MBM you must have known subconsciously that this was about to happen! ((((hugs)))) Do as the others suggest though.. go get your rights sorted out.. he may think he is going to ignore his responsibilities but that's just bravado no doubt. At least he has acknowledged that 'it's over' which is what you needed to hear.

Good luck. Keep venting to us.. we don't mind..and will help where possible

SJ x

marriedbutmiserable Fri 04-Mar-05 17:19:55

I saw a solicitor (whtout telling h) last time things were really bad between us, and so I know my entitlements. He, however, seems to think it's going to be a simple case of him giving me the equity in our house to buy somewhere new, and then that's it. I pointed out that there's a little thing called Maintenance, and his reply was that if he didn't have a job then he wouldn't have any money to pay me anything. Apparently he's thinking of leaving his job because it's so stressful he just can't cope any more. When I said "You don't have the luxury of just leaving a job without anything else to go to - you have 2 responsibilities called [ds] and [dd]", he asked me if I'd rather he killed himself, because that's what he thought about every day.

This is a complete mess and it's obvious from his demeanour that it's going to get a whole lot worse, while he has a total breakdown and I am left - as usual - to keep things going for the children.

I packed up all our important documents and passports weeks ago, as I don't trust him. Now I need to get hold of all his life assurance and pension plans to photocopy when he's not around. Hopefully he'll go to work next week.

I told my mum on the phone just now, and he heard, and now that someone else knows and its therefore "real" to him, he has started to do his usual thing of shutting down completely and just saying "I don't want to go, I just want everything to stop, I can't live like this any more"

Great weekend ahead.

Cod Fri 04-Mar-05 19:40:48

Message withdrawn

madgirl Fri 04-Mar-05 22:24:30

mbm, what's happening? I very rarely post, but have read this post and really feel i want to lend support. where are you???

SleepyJess Sat 05-Mar-05 07:22:57

Hope all is ok


marriedbutmiserable Sat 05-Mar-05 08:33:17

all more or less as expected. Having gone through the ranting stage, he's now desperate and clingy. He's decided he doesn't want to go after all. But he can't go on working, as he just can't hack it any more. He got up this morning and was promptly sick. This is a man in complete breakdown, and I wish I could be more helpful or sympathetic, but I've seen it all before, and in the past when I've said "Don't worry, we'll work it through together", that's been just what he needed to pick himself up without ever actually addressing the root cause of any of his problems. His level of self-awareness is pitiful. I know that if i tell him this time that it'll all be OK for us in the end, it won't help, as a) I'd be lying; and b) he then won't have to think about why he's ended up in this mess in the first place.

He is desperate, crying, clingy, and I have to be cold and practical to try and keep things "normal" for ds. So h thinks I'm so callous that I don't even care about the end of our marriage, when of course I do - but one of us has to keep it together, and it's always him who has the luxury of totally dropping off the edge, while I keep life running as normally as possible.

God, I don't know what's worse - staying firm and telling him he still has to move out (am afraid he'll kill himself if I do this), or letting him stay and having this situation drag on and on, but at least he won't do anything stupid.

I don't know how I'm going to get through the next couple of days

spagblog Sat 05-Mar-05 09:12:48

You poor thing. It must be hell to have all that heaped on your shoulders.
No advice I am afraid, but I am sure someone will have some words of wisdom.
The things he has come out with do sound like what my DH would say in his shoes. I would have caved in and told him that everything is alright, but you sound much stronger than me.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: