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AIBU?

Why stay?

29 replies

Bathtubbathing · 10/10/2022 22:53

Met a guy at the weekend who still shares a home with his ex partner (and her mum). Separate bedrooms for years. They're staying living together for the sake of the kids. The youngest is 10, so he'll be there for a while yet.

Another male friend's 30 yr marriage ended this summer. He used to describe he and his ex as best of friends, no separate bedrooms, but he used to seek sex outside the marriage as their sex drives were different. She didn't mind. They've separated after several years of that arrangement-they stayed living together for their daughter.

XDP had separate rooms with his wife for 3 years before their split. Again, for the sake of their child.

The man I recently met was clearly craving touch and affection, as he hadn't had any for years. XDP hadn't been intimate with anyone for 5 years before we met. He revelled in being hugged, as he'd not been for so long.

I find this really hard to understand. All the advice says, as hard as it is, it's better for the children if you do split.

These are all intelligent men trying to do the right thing by their children, but it probably isn't the right thing to stay. Financially all 3 have high enough wages to support their child whilst moving on from their ex.

I'm the sort of person who looks to and plans for the longer term, so I don't get why people choose misery and uncomfortable living situations when there is a clear way out that helps everyone move on. They choose to put their lives on hold for years.

Do you understand why people stay in that awful and uncomfortable situation and subject their children to it? Help me understand please.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

42 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
67%
You are NOT being unreasonable
33%
wherearebeefandonioncrisps · 10/10/2022 22:56

I'm going out on a limb here, but I think that you've tapped into something that is actually happening but no one will admit to.

Expect I'll be flayed too.

luxxlisbon · 10/10/2022 22:58

It’s only better if the marriage is toxic. If people can make it work there is nothing wrong with them coparenting in the same house while no longer in a relationship.
I’m not sure I can do it but it works for some.

Maybe it literally comes down to them not being ready to move out and see their kids every other weekend and alternating Christmases. Dads can get a raw deal as far as their kids go after a divorce and as much as mumsnet makes it out to be the opposite, many dads love their children and don’t want to be separated from them.

HailAdrian · 10/10/2022 23:18

I can tell you from experience that's it's probably down to money.

CrapBucket · 10/10/2022 23:22

Its easier when there are two adults. You have back up. Don't have to drag multiple kids to club runs or A&E visits, can go out in the evening when they're in bed - even if just to the shops or to walk the dog. Loads of things are easier.

Whataretheodds · 10/10/2022 23:26

It's not necessarily better to leave. It's better for the parents to find the aet-up in which they can put the children first, and create a secure environment for those children. For many parents this will mean splitting but if they can coparent and cobabit amicably then why not?

Sittingonabench · 10/10/2022 23:36

its a case of picking your poison - lack of physical affection or being financially, time and emotionally drained. Most would choose lack of affection if everything else was amicable and maybe even supportive.

Bathtubbathing · 10/10/2022 23:54

@luxxlisbon XDP ended up being the primary carer when his ex finally moved out of the family home. He'd been the primary carer for most of their DSs life. He wasn't going to change that.

@HailAdrian I know 2 of those 3 men well enough to know financially it really wasn't a problem.

@CrapBucket I can see that, but putting your life on hold just so you can take an occasional evening stroll? 🤷 Do it earlier in the day with the child, surely?

OP posts:
SavoirFlair · 11/10/2022 00:01

Fascinating that 83% think you’re being unreasonable OP, and yet you’re actually speaking some of the realest stuff I’ve read in here

Sounds like a lot of people are in denial or terrified it will be them next, because they’d “rather have a cup of tea, a biscuit and a good book, than all that huffing and puffing”

Feelingconfused2020 · 11/10/2022 00:05

I don't think the evidence is cut and dry on what's best for the children. If the adults can remain amicable then staying together may not be the bad thing you make it out to be. I. Get that it has its problems obviously.

I also think people just want to live with their children because they love them. I don't see why that's so hard to understand.

Kitkatcatflap · 11/10/2022 02:25

Do you have children OP?

I think if a marriage has just run its course, there is no else and it's not abusive or toxic, than it's better for the children to have two parents who actually WANT to be there. If neither is looking for a serious relationship, the power balance is equal and it's amicable, why not?

My DH and I went through a temporary rough patch but we still had fun trips out, a great holiday, Christmas etc. We were still a family. You would never know when you look back through the photographs.

IamThegreaterMole · 11/10/2022 02:41

If they get on well, it’s not going to be “miserable and uncomfortable” though.

autocollantes · 11/10/2022 05:26

CrapBucket · 10/10/2022 23:22

Its easier when there are two adults. You have back up. Don't have to drag multiple kids to club runs or A&E visits, can go out in the evening when they're in bed - even if just to the shops or to walk the dog. Loads of things are easier.

This.

And the heartbreaking idea that you are going to not be with your children as much as you are.

Plus the guilt of "breaking up the family", making your children "come from a broken home" and due to the financial changes related to two single parents running to homes, the reduced opportunities for you kids.

Even if you don't actually believe that separating makes "a broken home" etc, I'd be surprised to find any divorced or separated parent - or parent considering it - who hasn't had these thoughts at some time.

Anyway what seems to be bad for kids is an acrimonious divorce. If parents can be on the same page and not at each other throats then divorce is a change, it can be difficult for a child, but it's not necessarily the sort of deeply traumatic experience that severely negatively impacts a child.

CatchYouOnTheFlippetyFlop · 11/10/2022 05:34

Maybe its not uncomfortable for them. If they can work ot amicably.

I wouldn't date anyone in this set up though.

Darbs76 · 11/10/2022 05:49

I guess it makes sense as both parents probably don’t want to have to see their kids 50% of the time. Also means they can save money ready for when they do move out. I think it’s fine as long as they get on as friends. I’m sure it goes on much more than people realise

luxxlisbon · 11/10/2022 06:22

Without being patronising, it’s clear you don’t have children.
I can see that, but putting your life on hold just so you can take an occasional evening stroll? 🤷 Do it earlier in the day with the child, surely?
I personally don’t know if it would work if DH and I were to sep and stay living together, but it does work for some.
What I do know is that yes, in a heartbeat I would put my social life on hold temporarily if I thought it was the best decision for my children. Most parents would make that decision too.

Bathtubbathing · 11/10/2022 06:41

luxxlisbon · 11/10/2022 06:22

Without being patronising, it’s clear you don’t have children.
I can see that, but putting your life on hold just so you can take an occasional evening stroll? 🤷 Do it earlier in the day with the child, surely?
I personally don’t know if it would work if DH and I were to sep and stay living together, but it does work for some.
What I do know is that yes, in a heartbeat I would put my social life on hold temporarily if I thought it was the best decision for my children. Most parents would make that decision too.

Without being patronising, you have no idea about the complexities of life. You're a typical MN user who thinks everyone lives their life to your ideals.

Fwiw, I was married over 15 years and have been the primary carer for the last three. XH is happy with the amount he sees his kids, as are they with how much they see their dad. And mum. Kids happy. Adults happy.

The 4 months we lived together before he moved out saw our friendship deteriorate because we both knew we were stuck and couldn't move on until the break was made. The kids couldn't fail but to pick up on it and their behaviour changes communicated what they couldn't articulate.

The three men I describe were/are all deeply unhappy living with their ex. In the words of XDP, he tolerated the situation for years to keep the kids happy. Once his ex moved out and they all found their new normal, they could all finally move on.

I've always been me first, a parent second. Surely by looking after me, I'm in the best place to look after the kids. The men in the op were/are shells of the people they should be because their home wasn't a place they could truly be at peace.

OP posts:
Bathtubbathing · 11/10/2022 06:54

@Feelingconfused2020 Love sometimes means making the hard decisions though, right? I don't think modelling "live with someone you can tolerate" is modelling the best for your child's life outlook.

@Kitkatcatflap the guy I met at the weekend clearly wanted to be in another relationship after years of not, but he felt trapped because of his home life. No women wants to get involved in that situation.

I also find it quite bizarre that I've read countless threads on here of women bemoaning staying with their partners for years and years for the sake of the kids, often in loveless, sexless relationships, and then regretting the wasted 20 years of their life when the kids have flown the nest.

Yet there's many of you voting that these men should stay in this situation.

More MN double standards.

OP posts:
underneaththeash · 11/10/2022 07:05

That guy you met at the weekend though, could have been completely lying to you - pretty common scenario - oh my wife doesn't understand me, we've been living separate lives for years etc.

Second scenario - worked for them for a while and then didn't and then they separated properly.

A lot of people don't fall out and can live perfectly well under the same roof, even if they're no longer in love - which is better for the children, it's only not if there is a significant amount of conflict.

Towcat15 · 11/10/2022 07:17

You accuse a pp of ‘thinking everyone lives their life to your ideals’ but that’s exactly what you’re doing by saying how wonderful you are that you put yourself first and how miserable these people must be to do anything different to you.

im in a similar situation where I’m separated from ds dad but we manage to co parent in the same house (although slightly easier as he works away a lot) and whilst not ideal it’s a better situation all round as we aren’t ferrying children between two houses (that we could ill afford) and have some lovely family moments together.

yes I’m sacrificing a dating life for now and I don’t know how long we can sustain it but for now it works.

luxxlisbon · 11/10/2022 07:19

Bathtubbathing · 11/10/2022 06:41

Without being patronising, you have no idea about the complexities of life. You're a typical MN user who thinks everyone lives their life to your ideals.

Fwiw, I was married over 15 years and have been the primary carer for the last three. XH is happy with the amount he sees his kids, as are they with how much they see their dad. And mum. Kids happy. Adults happy.

The 4 months we lived together before he moved out saw our friendship deteriorate because we both knew we were stuck and couldn't move on until the break was made. The kids couldn't fail but to pick up on it and their behaviour changes communicated what they couldn't articulate.

The three men I describe were/are all deeply unhappy living with their ex. In the words of XDP, he tolerated the situation for years to keep the kids happy. Once his ex moved out and they all found their new normal, they could all finally move on.

I've always been me first, a parent second. Surely by looking after me, I'm in the best place to look after the kids. The men in the op were/are shells of the people they should be because their home wasn't a place they could truly be at peace.

You’re the one putting your ideals onto others because it didn’t work for you.
Just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it can’t work for anyone else.
It works for some people and they are happy with it, it doesn’t work for others but they do it out if necessity. It doesn’t really matter which, people make their own decisions based on their own lives.
The difference is I’m not judging them and you are.

Two of the men you are talking about have not done it for financial reasons (although your OP started saying it was all 3) so clearly they have made the decision that best suits their family for various more complicated reasons.
They are free to move out if that’s what they are ready to do.
If you met this guy in a romantic way you are free to not peruse the relationship, but you only just met him and you don’t know anything about his life.

XH is happy with the amount he sees his kids, as are they with how much they see their dad. And mum. Kids happy. Adults happy.

Personally I know my husband would be devastated to go from living with his children full time to a night or two a week and so moving out as soon as possible probably wouldn’t be our immediate solution.

NightsByTheLake · 11/10/2022 07:39

It doesn’t have to be miserable and uncomfortable if they get on well. And they may not be feeling they’re putting their lives on hold, the biggest part of some people’s lives is....shocker..., bringing up their children. It can be very difficult for kids to live between two houses, so this can be a real option for parents that get on well but aren’t together as a couple.

Not everyone thinks getting on with their lives means finding another partner and/or living with them. There is more to life than dating of being in a couple. People have careers, family, friends, hobbies. You sound quite narrow minded.

I don’t think we’ll ever split but this would be something we’d both consider, nothing to do with money, and everything to do with stability for our children. That would be the priority.

Riapia · 11/10/2022 07:58

OP you have posted on AIBU any views expressed on here are not necessarily those of the people posting them.

Bathtubbathing · 11/10/2022 07:59

luxxlisbon · 11/10/2022 07:19

You’re the one putting your ideals onto others because it didn’t work for you.
Just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it can’t work for anyone else.
It works for some people and they are happy with it, it doesn’t work for others but they do it out if necessity. It doesn’t really matter which, people make their own decisions based on their own lives.
The difference is I’m not judging them and you are.

Two of the men you are talking about have not done it for financial reasons (although your OP started saying it was all 3) so clearly they have made the decision that best suits their family for various more complicated reasons.
They are free to move out if that’s what they are ready to do.
If you met this guy in a romantic way you are free to not peruse the relationship, but you only just met him and you don’t know anything about his life.

XH is happy with the amount he sees his kids, as are they with how much they see their dad. And mum. Kids happy. Adults happy.

Personally I know my husband would be devastated to go from living with his children full time to a night or two a week and so moving out as soon as possible probably wouldn’t be our immediate solution.

You told me I didn't have kids and you're not making judgements? 🤣

Having only just met the OP at the weekend, I went on what he said about his finances and his unhappiness about his life. I know the other 2 far better. There's too many parallels.

Add in all the women on here who bemoan wasting the best years of their lives, I'm trying to understand why people stay unhappy, and keep their children in a tolerable household rather than one full of love, as I chose not to.

Personally I know my husband would be devastated to go from living with his children full time to a night or two a week and so moving out as soon as possible probably wouldn’t be our immediate solution.

A) why should he only have a night or 2? That's very selfish of you.
B) XDP thought the same about his ex wife until she ended up seeing them 2 nights a week
C) I thought the same about my ex husband until he showed me differently.
D) don't presume anything about your partner. There are 100s of threads on here saying how shocked people are with the changes in their partner after a split. Don't assume you and yours are any different.

OP posts:
Bathtubbathing · 11/10/2022 08:22

Thinking about it, how many of you voting/posting have the actual experience of choosing to live in this sort of situation?

As it's currently feeling like people saying that of course they would put their children first and live in this situation for their sake, and how could I not understand that love in parenting, without ever having to experience anything like it for themselves.

I'd have probably posted the same as the majority pre split, but then life happened. And reality is so very different from the theory you never think you'll need to put into practice.

OP posts:
luxxlisbon · 11/10/2022 08:44

Literally none of those things matter. You can’t fathom that your experience isn’t universal, but it isn’t.
You are taking your experience and applying it to everyone which isn’t reality.

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