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To ask how you make a loveless marriage work 'for the children' - and if IWBU to have another child with someone I know doesn't love me

78 replies

Namestheyareachangin · 29/10/2018 12:07

In a big heart to heart we had last week, DP has made it clear he doesn't love me (by my definition of what love is) and probably isn't capable of doing so. He doesn't want to break up. We have one child and we both want another (me probably more than him). WIBU to stay with him and have another baby with him knowing this, so that I don't have to miss the chance of having another child and my children would both have the same parents should we break up further down the line?

We've been together for 10 years, most of them difficult - things seemed at their best and improving when we decided to have Baby 1 and through my pregnancy, but clearly the stresses of a child have highlighted the faultlines all over again and added more.

At this point I really feel much of the arguments are caused by me being upset that he doesn't treat me the way you treat someone you love and being confused and hurt by this; but now he has more or less told me he doesn't, is there a way I can make it work, as I'll no longer be expecting more than he can give me?

Practically, we work well together. Enough money, everything gets done, he's a great dad now our baby is older (bloody useless to me when she was newborn mind). Our life is a really great shape, if you know what I mean, it's just the emotional side is full of feelings of hurt on my side as I feel like he just tolerates me because my presence, income etc facilitate this good shaped life, rather than seeing me and loving me specifically.

So I'm now feeling slightly numb and emotionless towards him in the wake of this admission (probably just the shock at the moment), and based on the last week or so I'm wondering if that might actually help, as if I care about him less I will be less bothered by his moods and his lack of lovingness towards me etc and won't cause as many arguments trying to extract closeness and feelings that just aren't there. We could just become partners in the practical sense - working together for our household and child(ren) - and both look elsewhere for our personal emotional support and fulfilment (I don't mean affairs - I wouldn't mind if he did but it's not his style and I am so not interested in any more relationships with men).

The alternative is... what. I leave him with my child, we have a smaller home in a less nice area which is less convenient for her childcare and my job so spend less time together. I either have to abandon my hope of having another child, or at length introduce another parent figure into my existing child's life, which could also in any case go wrong and cause further disruption to her and any subsequent children as clearly I have poor judgement in this field. None of this is tempting. The upsides would be not feeling frequently sad that someone I love doesn't seem to love me back, but if I could train myself out of loving him...

What I want is what's best for my child. Straightforwardly that should mean leave him as 'loveless marriage' doesn't seem a great recipe for bringing up healthy child; but neither tbh does living as a single parent struggling to make ends meet, rarely there for her, with no siblings, and having to maintain her relationship with her dad off to one side. At the moment our parenting division of labour works well... But I can see us having a lot of disagreements about how she should be raised if living separately and each having to do everything some of the time. Moreover I'd lose my ability to monitor her dealings with his family, which for various actually serious reasons I want to keep an eye on.

I feel like we'd all be worse off apart, but am aware things are far from ideal together. I'm just trying to work out the proper objective view of which of these choices is worse.

I am also aware that he might have an epiphany of his own/fall in love for real with someone else one day and take the decision out of my hands. I'll be preparing for that contingency whatever happens (as anyone would if they weren't 100% certain of their partner).

Assuming he doesn't however and things will stay as they are unless I change them... What do you think Mumsnet? Can two grown ups who broadly respect each other and work well together function as a family unit in the absence of 'real' love? Or will this inevitably damage my child(ren)?

OP posts:

SWMWAFC · 30/10/2018 06:04

Honestly please leave. I was in a marriage like this and it was hell. Things will just get worse and worse and it is very unhealthy for all of you. I left eventually and now have an amazing dp and we are having a baby in May. There is life after this relationship I promise.


UnleashTheBulsara · 30/10/2018 07:18

OP my basic standard of kindness is coming up with credible responses to "what do you like about me". He couldn't think of one thing to say?? Not a thing? I couldn't really imagine planning to spend years of my life with someone like that, regardless of whatever other benefits there might be. But you say in the ten years together you have already had difficult times, with arguments. That isn't going to get any better...

You sound rational, reasonable, practical and thoughtful. With these qualities amongst others, you will do just fine on your own with your dd. You might well meet someone else; nobody knows what's around the corner for us. Maybe counselling will help you identify how you feel about yourself, and how you got to feeling that way, and you can move on to develop other relationships which are beneficial to you and support your self esteem. You deserve that as much as anyone else, least of all your dd. Everyone deserves the chance to feel cherished, appreciated and loved. Please don't choose to turn the chance down; by staying in this cold and restrictive relationship, you are harming yourself and your dd.


CraftyYankee · 30/10/2018 07:42

One thing I'm wondering is if when he does things around the house is that a way of him expressing love? Take a look at 5 Love Languages. One way of showing love is acts of service, doing things to help your partner.

It sounds to me like you are heavily on the side of Words of Affirmation, wanting to be notice and appreciated.

Now if he's just a rigid controlling jerk who wants it all done his way that's different, obviously. But maybe you are just on different ends of that spectrum?

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