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I know it's over but how do I get dh to accept it?

(27 Posts)
QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 18:07:08

I started to write about how things are but it will seriously take up sooo much space and it will take ages to read it. To cut a very long story short, this is how it is:

Been married to dh for 7 years.
Have 2 ds's together and he is stepdad to my older 3 teens.

Very very simply, dh and me have sat down together time after time to discuss what is wrong with our relationship - too long to go into to give a full picture.

Every single time, dh has accepted and acknowledged that he has failed to work at the relationship and has consistently let me down on important issues. He has said numerous times that he wishes he were more assertive and could find some drive within himself to do more within his own life and in regrads to our marriage. He promises that he will seek help with doing this (I believe he needs counselling) and try harder at all the things he acknowledges are not right with us (or more so with himself). He also accepts that I have made tremendous effort to put things right and knows he has let me down on many occasions.

In January this year he slept on the sofa, as things came to a massive head, for a couple of months. He again promised, and begged for me to give him another chance and to let him show that he could turn things around and pleaded with me to give him 6 months. He said he realised that he needed to make changes and knew it was pretty much his final chance. I agreed as I felt I owed it to the kids to keep together for stablility and consistency. I also agreed as I felt guilty that I would be breaking up my marriage and felt sorry for him.

So here I am 8 months later, nothing has changed. We had a heart to heart again last week (after he spectacularly let me down over a recent bereavement). He conceded that he had not done anything to change things during the last 8 months had just, again, allowed things to drift and buried his head in the sand. He buys self help books but then never reads them and never acts on what he says he will do.

He has begged and pleaded again for me to give him another couple of weeks to show that he can change! He will not say how he is going to do this, just that I should not give up on the relationship. He knows I am ready to walk away due to the lack of effort on his part. Relate helped a little last year.

He is not a bad man. Just lazy, passive and lacking in backbone and drive. He however is in denial that my feelings for him and my respect for him have simply been worn away over the years and I know for certain that I do not want a future with him. But I feel so guilty and know it will detsroy him, so I really need advice and support on how to get him to accept it is over. I want him in my kids' lives but need to help him see that this side of things can work, but we just won't.

allaboutme Mon 17-Aug-09 18:11:02

What sort of things is he letting you down on?
Does he realise at the time?
Sounds like he really wants to improve things but perhaps doesnt know how... Do you tell him each time what you want him to be doing to give him the chance to do the right thing? or do you tell him afterwards?

hobbgoblin Mon 17-Aug-09 18:14:56

You don't need him to accept it, you need to do it. I always think that when we are doing that thing of getting someone else to see/agree/accept a part of us is wishing for a miracle to spring from nowhere. As though there is a reluctance in oneself.

I remember helping a friend to finish with her boyfriend years ago when we were young and her deliberating how to word a letter. In the end I realised that the letter was unnecessary. A short, kind explanation was best and then decisive action must follow to save hurt on both sides.

Is this not how it is for you? If you try to explain then you are offering another oportunity for him to act upon your complaints.

You don't need agreement, you need to be certain yourself. And if you are certain as you say then you need to be confident.

And anyway, though you do not tell him this, there are no rules that say you cannot revisit your relationship if there comes a time when he has made the changes for himself because he wants to.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 19:13:01

Things he has let me down on include last week when my grandad died. On the day he died I was understandably very quiet and not very talkative. He said to me "What IS the matter with you?" He could not understand me being upset. In regards to the funeral arrangements - I was happy to take the youngest 2 as we had no other childcare available - DH turned to me and said, "Have I got to look after them then?" All I wanted him to do was tell me he would sort things out and take the pressure off me. In the end he stayed at home with them as I just didn't want him there.

Christmas a couple of years ago - all of us excitedly waiting to open presents, I gave dh his pile of stuff I had bought with the kids, and waited for mine. dh simply said, "Oh I didn't have time to get you anything." An awful day.

I had been waiting 2 weeks for the letter about whether I had got my absolute dream job, so so excited when I got it, almost screaming with excitement. dh sat in stunned silence, no emotion and just said, "oh good I suppose." Then, "does that mean I have to do more housework then?"

ALWAYS forgetting thiings, even important stuff I leave notes about.

NEVER expresses an opinion on ANYTHING. Is very non committal and is unable to make a decision, so I do and then he moans that I always get my way!

CANNOT make conversation and will sit in awkward silence and when I make conversation, he gives only one word answers.

He is a slob and cannot see mess and NEVER does any housework.

We have discussed all these issues and lots of others and he accepts he could and should do more and try harder. BUt he then just slips back into this passive and apathetic way.

I need him to be my rock and get a grip on things and KNOW that I can totally rely on him in the same way he knows he can rely on me. Our marriage is very one way and he acknowldges this but simply says I should accept him as he is. That is not possible with 5 kids. I have lost all respect for him and find I am frustrated and embarrassed by him.

I know I need to end this but it is getting over the guilt which is an issue for me.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 19:27:23


SolidGoldBrass Mon 17-Aug-09 19:39:08

I am amazed you haven't murdered him, let alone that you haven't dumped him before now. What, exactly does he bring to your household apart from (presumably) a financial contribution? I expect some people will say that he is somewhere on the autistic spectrum and this is, of course, possible .The easiest way to work out whether this is the case is: does he treat other people like this? If so, then yes, he can't help being the way he is and can't change much. If no, then he can behave better, but he chooses not to. Because he thinks that you simply don't matter enough for him to bother making an effort to please you. He's found that he can blubber a bit and promise to change and you will carry on cookingfor him, picking up after him, raising his children and (presumably) sucking his dick now and again.
You do not have to spedn the rest of your life servicing him for no return. It is not remotely surprisig you've had enough. Don;t bother with one more chance for him, he won't do more than make the usual token gestures.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Mon 17-Aug-09 19:47:04

I remember your thread about your grandad's funeral. I have to say I agree with SGB. What a drag he is. I couldn;t cope with him for very long at all. My DH can be a twat of the highest order but at least he's dynamic. Yours sounds like a big wet lettuce. He is who he is, he said it himself. You do not have to give him 'another chance' - don't. What's the hold up? Give him a move out day, and stick to it.

supersalstrawberry Mon 17-Aug-09 19:50:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 19:54:08

SGB - we have a ds with Aspergers and since his dx, I then saw the traits in dh. dh recognises this himself and was the first to suggest it - however to me this felt like this was his get out clause iyswim. Because he might be ASD he then felt excused from making any effort.

However - he CAN and does make effort when things come to a head. But within days, things slip back. So I know he CAN do it, I think he chooses not to. This is what galls me.

I have been through divorce before and know how hard it is. And this time I am working full time too. But I know this will pass and things will eventually settle. Just need a boost of confidence and practical advice.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 19:58:27

supersal - yes, looking back it's always been this way. It's just that early on in our relationship I was not working but it has been since I returned to work full time that things really became apparent. It was like he just refused to accept that I was moving forward with my life and he constantly moaned about it and refused to adapt to our changing circs.

Someone mentioned passive aggressive and since looking it up, found this to be dh to a tee too.

supersalstrawberry Mon 17-Aug-09 20:07:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 20:15:12

Thanks supersal,

I KNOW I have given him chance after chance and for a while I though he really meant it and even when I have felt sceptical I have stayed with it for the sake of the kids.

I know what I would be saying to someone else if they were in my situation but it is hard when it is happening to you.

PollyEster Mon 17-Aug-09 20:16:24

You have described my husband and our marriage. After years of wondering what on earth was the matter, he has been diagnosed with Aspergers. It also seems to me that he can do things but doesn't seem to want to, or forgets, or can't be bothered.

He also doesn't have an opinion about anything, he just mirrors mine. He's never enthusiastic or passionate about anything that's meaningful to me & finds it impossible to be supportive. He admits he hasn't been a good father in that he has never nurtured our children, never realised the importance of listening to them, discussing their feelings.

I could go on & on, but I just wanted to emphasise that I recognise Aspergers traits in how you describe your husband & to tell you that after 30 (yes 30) years of marriage, we are finally separating. We've discussed it so many times but it always seemed so difficult to make the break (too bad to stay, too good to leave or whatever they say). I would advise you strongly to make the move now.

And look at this website - it's very interesting. Click on "information" then "Aspergers syndrome in marriage" for a list of 'symptoms' in yourself. Hope it helps.

I wish you all the very best in whatever you decide to do. Don't leave it too late.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 20:22:30

PollyEster - I feel for you and am sorry to hear how things have been for you.

Your situation is what I am scared of doing - doing nothing about it and looking back wondering why the hell I didn't do it years ago.

I hope things work out well for you x

PollyEster Mon 17-Aug-09 20:23:41

I'm so sorry QueenEagle, I've just read that your son has had a dx of Aspergers. I hope that he gets all the help he needs.

QueenEagle Mon 17-Aug-09 20:32:08

Thanks Polly, he is lovely and has great support at school.

He and dh clash though and this causes ds to meltdown frequently due to dh not "reading" him and being able to spot his triggers.

PollyEster Mon 17-Aug-09 20:40:30

Thanks QueenEagle. I can see exactly why you feel so stuck in your situation. My husband is not a bad person, but he is incapable of being emotionally supportive. I realise now that I have been the one doing all the work in keeping our relationship going. My husband can't understand anyone else's feelings or emotions and has no passion or enthusiasm for life and that is very hard to live with. But our time together hasn't been all bad. We share a wicked sense of humour, he's very clever & knowledgeable, he works hard & is willing to do anything for anyone (but he has to be asked first!). However, I am determined to regain my personality before I become too like him. I want a social life and need relationships with other people who are interested in my feelings and opinions. I now realise that the way forward is to live separately & wish I had had this insight years ago.

PollyEster Mon 17-Aug-09 20:42:54

QueenEagle, sorry, x-posting -

I can really understand how your dh & ds clash, and you are stuck in the middle sad.

Hope it works out for you whatever you decide to do.

purplepeony Mon 17-Aug-09 21:54:21

Big question- WHY did you marry him?

Has he always been like this?

Did you know then that he cannot empathise and express emotions?

could be be Aspergers or autistic? (sorry just seen that somene else suggested that.)

I wonder if YOU are communicating as well as you could do? I agree thathis behaviour in not accpetable, but wonder how you react at the time- or if you are able to teach him how he should react- rather than accusing him all the time?

Does he know exactly hwo you feel? Does he know what words he should be saying? You have explained it all very well to us- have you done the same to him?

Men cannnot mind-read. They oftenneed tohave the "right response" explained to them so they can learn for next time. Are you saying he is incapable of learning?

If you have given him every chance, then you have to do what you think is best.

secretskillrelationships Tue 18-Aug-09 07:11:22

Do you think he actually wants to be with you? I only ask from personal experience. My H and I had problems for years, did 18 months with Relate, individual counselling etc and couldn't sort things out. It was only when I worked out that he wasn't actually committed to the relationship (from his actions and something he said) that he finally admitted that he wasn't sure about the relationship and hadn't been for 13 years!

He thought it was unsayable even when he was being soo horrible in so many other ways. Our rows looped round - he'd agree that he wasn't doing X, say he would do X, might even do it once or twice, often never and then sulk if I reminded him, row if I reminded him again. It all had exactly the same quality that you describe.

Maybe time for a really honest talk.

warthog Tue 18-Aug-09 08:38:01

you have given him so many chances. he now sees that all he has to do is beg you to give him another chance, he might do a few chores for a couple of days and then he goes right back to his comfy ways. he gets a few weeks respite whilst your resentment builds up and the cycle goes on.

YOU are going to have to end it because it's not in his interests to do so.

you don't need him to accept it's over. you start talking about him moving out. you will have to be proactive about that too. you will effectively have to kick him out.

good luck. it's clear you've tried your best.

QueenEagle Tue 18-Aug-09 16:06:32

The hardest part of this will be him twisting things. He will say that he has been making effort and things have been better just lately and blame me for splitting up the family. He forgets, very conveniently, all the shit that has gone on before that has resulted in me feeling the way I do. I feel I will weaken.

commeuneimage Tue 18-Aug-09 16:46:46

My H is the same. He makes me feel it is all my fault for deciding the marriage is over, although it was he who broke it up by having an affair after 20 years. It is my fault for not being able to forgive him and get over it. I do feel guilty because it has made me stop loving him. And I feel sorry for him because he is useless on his own.

He says we can carry on as before and that the alternative is being alone and lonely. Maybe it is, but like you I don't think I can carry on in a marriage with a man I still like and am fond of but no longer love. (Added to which we had no sex for 8 years and I don't want an asexual future, nor a marriage where I am looking for sex on the side.)

It's easy to be talked round because of our own guilt about the failure of the relationship, but it is our future and we have to decide what is best for us and not for the man who has let us down.

QueenEagle Tue 18-Aug-09 17:05:22

When things came to a head 8 months ago, he cried and cried huddling all the children around him, saying I was throwing him out and he didn't know what to do, where to live, didn't want to be without them etc etc.

This is what scares me most I think, the effect HIM breaking down will have on the kids.

QueenEagle Tue 18-Aug-09 19:01:41

Thanks for all messages. Feel a bit low about all this today especially as dh is wandering around being all hyper positive. I know he is thinking everything will be ok and he is probably thinking he has got away with it again by the skin of his teeth. I just feel crap. sad

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