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Separating, how do you support the children when you feel so awful yourself

(5 Posts)
secretskillrelationships Fri 24-Jul-09 15:35:24

We've spent 4 years trying to make a go of our relationship but realised that he doesn't really want to make a go of it he's just going through the motions.

We finally managed to have a civilised discussion and have agreed to separate. Things were much better as this seemed to take the emotion and uncertainty out of the equation. I felt better as I was feeling he was pushing me to make the decision so that it would be 'my fault' we were separating and he would still be the 'good guy'.

However, he has now reverted to his old behaviour - he had been gradually withdrawing emotionally and practically over years. When I said something to him he flew off the handle, tried to initiate another row along the lines of how it's me that's impossible, I'm the one saying he's not good enough, etc. Then he left. He will be back when it suits him though before I am due to leave for work tonight (maybe).

I feel an emotional wreck. He was my best friend and I simply do not understand why he is being so horrible to me. I feel broken and hurt. I feel so alone. We have been together for 21 years and I thought there was nothing we could not face together. My inability to reach, emotionally, the man I love has knocked my self-esteem enormously and I have put on huge amounts of weight in the last 6 months (have never had a problem with my weight before).

I don't know what to tell the children. We have put them through the wringer which I feel really dreadful about but felt it was important to explore every avenue before we split - now it just looks cruel.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Fri 24-Jul-09 19:05:23

Secrets - I have followed your story on these boards and know it well. What has always shone out from your posts is that you still love your DH. I know he said recently that since his one night stand, he has been questioning whether you are the right woman for him, but you know, I've always had the impression that you two can make it.

Are you sure it's really over between you? It might just need a leap of faith from you to say you love him too much to throw this away and you CAN put the past behind you, as long as he really admits that in truth, you are his one. You see, even from these posts I've had the impression that you actually are the love of his life. I think his guilt about the one night stand and the kiss have confused him, when actually I think they were just massive red herrings.

I cannot remember if you've had counselling or not - if not, I'd really recommend it.

Only you know whether you can live with him knowing what's happened in the past - but it's always sounded as though you had something wonderful before the children came along - and that can, with help, be re-created.

In your shoes, I wouldn't tell the children anything at all until I was really sure it was over between us. Don't let pride stand in your way, because this will be a massive loss to you.

I'm sure you're feeling wretched right now, but my advice is, don't throw in the towel unless you are BOTH really sure it is over. If there is love there (and it's always sounded like there is) it can be re-kindled, with help.

Thinking of you.

secretskillrelationships Sat 25-Jul-09 16:59:58

WWIFN - Thanks for replying. Much of what you say is true - I do still love him. BUT he really isn't sure how he feels about me. Up until recently I have believed that we were working towards the same goal but have made the 'leap of faith' as you put it on many occasions he's been unable or unwilling to join me.

I have tried to avoid posting the he did this, that and the other type stuff because I've written it down and I know what I would say to anyone who posted it. But I honestly did believe that working things out would be best for each member of our family.

We did Relate for 18 months and he told a good story, one that had both of us convinced (and probably him). At no point did he mention that he felt that maybe I wasn't the right person for him. I am guessing the therapist got at least some of what was going on by the end as she described the situation as toxic.

I have questioned myself on many occasions whether he really wanted to be with me. If I'd had any hint of his ambivalence or if I'd thought it would be better for him for us to separate I would have done it. In fact, had I been treating him the way he has treated me I would have left rather than continue to hurt him.

Unfortunately, the issues go back over 13 years, it's just the last 4 where we've been struggling to breaking point, mainly because we could no longer ignore what was going on and things came to a head when he kissed someone else (not the kiss, just horrible repercussions).

On the one hand, I have enormous compassion for him, I understand what he is going through and I know the pain he is in. I also know the pain he will have to go through as he works through what he is doing and has done (which, to be fair, he is doing in individual counselling, but very very slowly). Having taken a step back I can see very clearly what is going on with him and the mental knots he is tying himself in.

But I am also obviously emotionally involved and am unable and unwilling to stay emotionally detached the whole time as he works through his issues. I have stuff going on for me too. I want space for me.

But, fundamentally, it boils down to this: I want to know that I am loved and I don't.

I think I have to let him go, painful as that is for me. I think he needs the space and freedom to work out for himself what he really wants.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Sat 25-Jul-09 19:25:59

Ok Secrets - so very sorry it has come to this. Hope others reply with what you should tell the children, what do they know already?

secretskillrelationships Sun 26-Jul-09 21:27:24

Children know things aren't good between us but previously we have told them we are working hard to sort things out.

Feel awful today - there is a real sense to me that they feel really insecure, all wanting lots of hugs.

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