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 to manage this separation..?????(19 Posts)
H and I "spilt up" at the beginning of Sept, following a final straw relating to months and years of his f*ckwit behaviour involving "cybering"/texting other women, which included us having been to counselling (several lots) and it all still happening again. I had a thread that I poured my heart out on, about six weeks ago, and many of you helped me through the week after the intitial crap hit the fan and I was a totally tear-soaked mess. But then I got it deleted because he read it. (He was intially angry.. then tearful and ashamed and guilt ridden about seeing what he's put me through all written down, no holds barred. I got it deleted because I felt it was best; he didn't ask me to).
Things have moved on since then. He was still here after the split (for 6 weeks in total) until 2 days ago when he finally moved out. It took so long due to practical reasons - it took a lot for us both (jointly, was only way to do it) to come up with a deposit in orderly to privately rent (and then only a room in a house.)
Plan was/is that he is nearby so that he can assist with care of severely disabled DS2 and the practical issues that arise (eg babysitting DS2 so I can take other 2 to swimming club 2-3 times a week etc.) I also need him for some afternoon school runs as DS2 goes to and from on transport and DD needs picking up at the same time as he arrives home. (Did try to re-negotioate this with tranport; they were unhelpful.)
So.. obviously there is lots of potential there for us to see plenty of each other.
The weeks leading up to him moving out where like this: he spent first two, openly crying, with me about the end of our marriage (I was not crying because I wanted him to stay/try again, I knew it was over; I was just devastated and grieving the "loss of us") but saying he cared about me but wasn't "in love with me".
Then he had a kind of epiphany, which I don't doubt that, for him, was very real. He realised all at once that this whole "text sex" thing (his most recent obsession/addiction) was actually an addiction, or something approaching it (would never listen to my suggestion of this in the past), was really pathetic, tacky, pointless and not what he wanted, and he smashed up his "secret phone" (that was no longer a secret oviously - I knew he was using it, but he wasn't quite as blatant as to do so in front of me, but it was acknowledged between the two of us that he was "free to do it" now even though it still hurt me even after the split.) He described this moment (I wasn't in) as like being freed from come grip he'd been under for ages/having clouds removed from his vision etc etc. At same time he apparently realised he loved, no actually adored (adores) me, only ever wanted me, but knew it was all too late.
That night we talked all night. I was so confused. He said he had no expectations whatsoever and he knew what he'd lost. But over the hours I allowed myself to think maybe.. just maybe.. one day.. after a proper separation period and LOTS of proper therapy (of the sex addiction kind, not just normal counselling), maybe we could make a go of it again. He was tearful/grateful etc. Infact he's pretty much stayed that way since..
And for next 2 weeks, we went through a weird stage of closeness where all he wanted to do was assure me of his love, devotion etc. He was sleeping on the sofa but he didn't always sleep there. He made plans to get himself off long term sick (he has artritis) and has a "back to work" interview lined up at the end of the month. He has started two lots of counselling/therapy arrange, one, with Relate, he's paying for (which he really can't afford) and the other, the GP has referred him to, via the mental health services. He has made arrangemens to volvunteer at DD's school.
He is doing all this. It's a total turn around of the way he has lived for a long time in which we were in this "taking care of our disabled child/.. thinknig "poor us"..claiming benefits and just getting by" rut that we'd BOTH allowed ourselves to stay in (with me working at an OU degree so as to have a "long term plan for better things" but which is now currently on hold.) He means all this. I can see that.
However, my friends/family were apparently getting very twitchy watching me get "too close" to him, even though I tried to be honest as I could, and tell them what was going on, that I was not "welcoming him back with open arms" or anything like that. But I did tell a few white lies about thnigs because I felt they would disapprove. By devious means (theirs) I got caught out in one of these. Eventually, we had a big row - I know it happened because they have my very best interests at heart but they were making me feel pressured/monitored etc. I am speaking to them again now (quite recent/last few days) but I don't know how to discuss HIM with them. Probably hence this thread.
A few days after we fell out I got an email from my sister, full of her anger and frustration, about the the "reservations" they've "all" had about him for years, detailing (some quite minor, others less so) incidents which, in their eyes, meant he was never to have been trusted, never loved me as he should have etc.
The email really upset me but removed my head from the sand somewhat although over the days I realised that they were (deliberately) glossing over our many genuinely happy years and the fact that he is, essentially, a good person (and certianly a good father), who has cocked up big time/allowed himself get get into a terrible rut and live a sort of half life, which to be honest, as I said, I allowed/encouraged too. (DS2 is a nightmare.. life felt "hard enough" and being more honest than I'm confortabe with, I was "happy" to keep him stuck at home because it meant he wouldn't get out and physically DO with other women the sort of thing he seemed to want according to his f*ckwit habits! He denys he EVER wanted to take anything that far.) But also I had not be comfortable with the level of closeness that had developed, too much, too soon, between us, in the time since his "epiphany" but at the same time, was almost allowing myself to bask in the love he was showing me, because for the last couple of years, since he'd become so aloof (which I think can be accounted for by the growing addiction problems but my sister seems to think that, in many ways, he was an arse anyway) I literally craved hearing those things/being treated that way again (with so much love) by a man I have loved so much throughout 13 years of marriage.
Eventually, he realised how screwed up I was by it all and pulled back again (although not in a cold way) and said that although he adores me/has realised the hard way that the kids and I are all he wants, he realises that it may well be over for us forever. And this is how it sort of stands now. But he is very clingy ("clingy" is not something I can EVER remember him being!). And I am very confused.
Now he's gone, although I can't say I don't love him (I do) I feel even more confused (not less) by my feelings for him and about what I want for the future. I can't/won't/ I freak out at the thought of ever again living in the kind of scared, paranoid fog that I existed in for 2-3 years, not knowing fact from my own paranoia (but I was sually right!).. knowing he was messing around (not physically but in all other ways), him lying/denying at every turn until once again caught out by me. I can't do that again. But neither can I put my hand on my heart and say "I know it's definitely over.. I don't want him..."
Maybe I'm just hedging my bets?? (surely not.. I'm not that cold). Maybe he's just very lonely now.. maybe he doesn't actually want me and doesn't know it??Thing is all he really had in his life was US.. now he lives in a basic little room in someone else's house, with none of his new plans having yet kicked in, it must have REALLY hit home.
Common sense is telling me not to worry about the future.. my brain's coming up with cliches like "let the future take care of itself.. if you're meant to be with him, it will happen.." "live from day to day/week to week..." but I'm the sort of person who plans, so that's hard.
A close friend (and Mner) put it very aptly when she said "you need to reset your life.. see how you feel.. you need to press CTRL/ALT/DELETE on your life.. but you can't.. he's still sitting on the keyboard!" and that describes it exactly! And that was when he was still here.. but actually, it's as if he's STILL sitting on the keyboard! He is texting me in the early hours (I stupidly maybe text back) either telling me how alone he is and how much he loves/misses me or asking me why I am not more supportive of what he is doing to make positive chances in his life. He mentions words like faith.. but asking me to have FAITH in him is too much after what I've been through... I can see he MEANS it but I also think he meant it on all the occasions in the past when he swore blind that "it" would never happen again. It always did. It nearly descroyed my sanity.
Part of me feels that if he does this "new him" thing.. which he really needs to do for his OWN good.. gets out there, gets back to work, makes new friends etc.. and then after he's lived this new life, and he STILL wants me, then (leaving my feelings out of it for a moment) maybe that is a more reliable indication of what he really wants.. maybe I can be more sure that he DOES infact want to be with me..
I have got some counselling of my own coming up. I can't wait. I am so confused. I want to become strong and independant (have lived more than a decade of being totally emtionally dependant on him, more so since he hurt me so badly and always totally preoccupied with what he wants/how he's feeling) but how can I do that under these circumstances? He seems tortured by thoughts of me having another man in my life at some stage (it's the last thing I'm thinking about obviously) even though he's NEVER been jealous.. used to think he didn't care enough to be honest.
Please someone.. what do you make of all this? What, in your humble opinions, should I be doing, how should I be handling all this?
Sorry for rambling!
OMG that's so long
See how I need a shrink!!!
Oh feck I'm not going to get any input am I? I've made that post too long and tedious
Hi shinyhappy, sorry you are going through the mill - it sounds really hard. I can't really say whether you should persevere in your relationship, though it sounds as though there is love there.
Regarding your family and friends - although they undoubtedly mean well, you might need to ask them to allow you to make your own decisions.
I have no answers at all for you, it sounds very hard for you. All I can suggest is, stay strong for the sake of you and kids.
I know its a cliche but give yourself (and him) time. You've been through a hell of a lot and its no wonder your head is all over the place.
I would never say never regarding getting back together, but definitely time apart will make it easier to clarify how you really feel about each other. Especially since he'll be living on his own and the harsh reality of what he has lost will be suddenly very real.
As for family and friends, they mean well, but its YOUR life and YOUR marriage. They might not like the decisions you make but they've got no right to object. They want you to be happy again, and if you can be with him then that should be enough for them.
Sorry I'm rambling a bit now!!!
You're not rambling at all Ginny. I need input..desperately!!
well it was long, but very well written - kept me hanging on till the end...
i am not sure if more input is really what you need, but here's a very detatched pov if you are up for it
For years he treated you like s%^$ and you let him get away with it (in your shoes I would have too btw). Although you wanted him to stop he just carried on because he had no real need to change his behaviour - there were no negative consequences to his actions.
Now, suddenly, you have shown him you will not put up with it - and, hey presto, suddenly he is doing all the things you asked him to do and is a transformed!! well wow! All along he knew what he had to do, but all along he didn't bother because why should he? but now the chickens are home to roost and suddenly it's all 'oh now i see what you mean oh what a bad boy i was'. (But note - it is an addiction now, implying that it is something that is out of his control, not really his fault because he didn't have any choice because it's an addiction you see...very convenient)
If this sudden penitence lasts and you move him back in there are two things that could happen
1) he remains transformed and you live happily ever after
2) he gradually reverts back to his old ways - because he can, because he knows that the might be a painful moment when you find out but eventually you will forgive him and he can have his cake and eat it.
Personally, i am an old cynic and my money is on 2).
and even if he does achieve long-term transformation, could you ever trust him again?
My advice (well, you did ask) is grit your teeth, change the lock, and embrace a new life as an empowered, respected single mum.
You're right MissingTheAction.
I love him. Although perhaps not as desperately as I used to which can only be a good thing. But I am NOT NOT NOT going to live in fear and paranoia anymore even if I live alone with no man in my life for the rest of my days and my 36 year old body never knows antother shag!!.
He is so so sorry that I almost can't imagine him doing it again. But that is ridiculous. We've been there before!
And you're right, even if he never did it again. how would I ever not feel the paranoia?
I wonder what a counsellor will say about all this
H has text to say his chicken has gone off. Being as he is broke (we pulled out all the stops moneywise, for him to move out) and has no other food, I am invited him for dinner.
I can't leave him sitting there with no dinner.
Maybe as he sorts his life out, it will be easier for us to distance oursleves.
Do what YOU want to do.
If you want to live together again as a family then do it, do not listen to your family, its your life and your relationship.
You believe that he has genuinely changed, you know him better than anyone, if you want to give it a couple of weeks/months apart first just to make sure he sticks to what he is saying then do that also.
Give yourself some time, it sounds like you both still love each other and sometimes life is very hard and we get stuck in ruts that pull us away from the people we are/want to be.
Good luck x
My 11 year marriage ended last year. One of my big concerns about my personal long term was as you say my 30 something body never having another shag. A year on (its that time thing again) life is really pulling together, its not perfect but its better than its been for some years. I'm actually enjoying getting out and meeting people and have some self worth. I didn't realise that I'd lost it a year ago and my much loving family and friends who cared would bite tongues and mutter under their breath you're worth more than this but I couldn't see it.
My solicitor said....In a long marriage you become 'we' when you separate it takes time to find 'I'. For example I didn't keep cheese in the house for a long time because X didn't like it. I'd put ribs in the trolley without thinking about it because he liked them, I realised I wasn't fussed.
Give yourself as much space as you can to re-identify with who you are and what is right for you. You are the only person you have to put up with for the rest of your life!
Good on you for trying to keep contact for the children you've separated from each other and not from them. If you can maintain a relationship that will do them well.
Re the single parent thing have you tried Gingerbread? Lots of free advice and factsheets and entitled to for your revised circumstances along with notifying inland revenue/ child tax credit people, council tax for single person reduction etc.
Lilaclaire he has rented the room for 6 months so he has to stay at least that long.. and to be fair I think we need that.
You state a very simplified, yet compelling , case. But my head is all over the place. And I really can't tell the difference between what my head and heart are telling me!
If anything I feel we really NEED the separation and some distance. But I don't know how to create distance. He is only a couple of miles away. And texting/phoning/calling in constantly. I know it's early days but if this is how its going to to be, how can we move on..? and move on we need to whether it's from the situation we've been in or the whole marriage..
Thanks ANT. We've done all the practical/financial stuff. That was the easy bit.. it's my head/heart that are screwed!
All I can say then is give it time, things can't really get any worse, so they will be getting better and who knows what direction it will be in.
Sounds like you need to establish some boundaries for your own sanity.
If he wants lots of contact with you and his feelings are a mixed up as yours you could request that he texts rather than phones. This would mean you could train yourself to read the texts only at certain times. It means he can make contact but you can control the disruption it has on what you're doing.
Re popping in maybe try to have days/ times where he is allowed to pop in. You could try saying it would suit me best if you came over on a Monday/ Wednesday night after school and Sunday afternoon. Maybe even leave him with the kids on one of those sessions so you can go for a swim/ coffee/ shop/ visit family. What about school runs could you get him to do one or two of those on a regular basis so he's maintaing a positive relationship with the children, helping you out and allowing you a bit of space.
I'd forgotten how messy the early days are. So many feelings and so much to work through. The thing is nothing is set in stone. Life just keeps on happening so you have to try a few things and see what works. It sounds like you are actually making progress because you're thinking about the space you need and taking a sort of overview of the situation.
Shiny - I'm so pleased/relieved to hear from you. I was rather concerned when you thread got deleted...
I totally get where you are coming from, and not sure that I have any answers. But your post does scream that you (both) need time to clear your heads and establish clear thinking. Counselling for you I think will be a good move.
I share your reservations that while your H may mean everything he says in a very heartfelt way right now, it may not be a long term frame of mind. My H also means every word he says - at the moment he says it...
It can be very difficult to feel like you are creating space mentally, as well as physically when you are still in such frequent contact, and I also worried about that too initially. But, having the benefit of 6 months more separation than you, I can say that for me, ultimately I have managed, with time, to gain some mental distance from H, even though he is in regular contact (even if only to sound off about the argument he has had with new woman). Now I actually feel that it has helped me retain a more accurate mental impresion of him in my thoughts, whereas with no contact I could very easily create a false image, usually better one than he deserves.
I'm not sure I am being very clear here, but my main message is to give yourself time, enough time to regain yourself, find clear space in your head. If you are confused about the situation, then it is not the right time to be making big decisions about your future.
Only then can you make the right decision for you (and friends and family will just have to suck it up). Personally, should my H ever say he wants to try again (and am half expecting that any time) I am not at all sure I could put myself at risk of going through all that again, never mind the associated upheaval for the DC.
I am sure it feels like eons since this all kicked off for you, but really it is a very short time, so stick with it for now, and do some stuff just for you.
DD stayed at his last night. He is bringing her over later and looking after DS2 while DD and I go to visit my sister in hopsital. So he'll be here when I get home after that obviously. (DS2 can't easily be cared for anywhere but at home, as other places aren't "DS-proof".) When I asked him if he would mind having DS2 on Sun morning so DD and I could go to church, he suggested he stay over! (On the sofa..) That's not right is it.. we're not doing this sepearation right at all.
I will ask him to go home tonight when I get back, although probably after Casualty because he loves that (we always watched it together, right up until last week, although out of practical neccessity in recents weeks) as he can't get a telly signal in his basic little room out in the sticks. The landlady type person (well she is the main tenant who sublets the other room) really has no mod-cons to speak of. Well no really 'mod' ones. I can't leave him to just sit in his room staring at a blank wall!
I feel I am doing this all wrong. H says I worry to much about what people might think and what I am "supposed" to be doing. Yes it's that but I also want to do the right thing for me , for my own state of mind. And for him as well, seperately, at the very least seperately for now.
I actually can't beleive I have this thread. Part of me is still in shock. Part of me is resigned. And a (stupid/pathetic) little part of me wonders if I could "have it all back" but better than before (it would bloody need to be).
Am dreading Christmas. And most certainly cannot afford it.
Re Christmas and not affording it....
It really doesn't need to cost much to be fun. Decorations are great fun made out of newspaper like paper chains and paper dolly chains (which can be any shape, snow drops again out of white paper/ newspaper are fun.
It was my first Christmas on my own last year after an August split.
We made a card stocking before Christmas and each boy had an argos catalogue and cut out all the things they wanted (I did explain they wouldn't be getting everything this time). I scoured the local papers and eBay and got them each one thing of the list, when anyone asked what they wanted the list was there to choose things off. They didn't get masses but it was a good day. The actual presents are such a small part. Making all the decorations, putting them up, all the hype and good TV are the fun bits. Do you have local light turning on ceremonies? If you work at it theres a surprising amount of free stuff. Like Father Christmas at the school fayre if there is one.
Even the traditional turkey dinner can be all preprepared and frozen to free you up to play games etc on the day. My kids favourite bits like mini sausages, stuffing wrapped in bacon, roast potatos and gravy are also the cheapest bits so they don't notice if you get a small bird or ready sliced meat that you've
Have you got people you could invite over for a mince pie in the afternoon to break up the day?
Have you thought about the access arrangements with your ex like he comes over for presents and stays with the kids whilst you prepare lunch but leaves when the afternoon guests conveniently arrive? Thats if you want him there at all. He could have his Christmas with them another day or visit whilst you go to church....
It really does get easier. Keep talking about it and you'll muddle through working out what YOU want and whats right for you.
Join the discussion
Please login first.