Did anyone here leave a perfectly nice, loving, wonderful father and husband . . . - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Simply because you weren't romantically interested in him anymore? Dh and I have been together almost 20 years (married for 11), and have two great kids. We have a wonderful life - I'm a SAHM homeschooling the kids, he works at a nice stable job. We're best friends, total trust and commitment, he's a wonderful father.

He adores me and finds me sexy and attractive and I just do not. This has been a small issue for many years, but lately it's gotten big. I just don't respect him as a "man" - I don't know how to describe it. He's very insecure in social situations, he has no initiative, I find his body very unattractive . . it all adds up to me having zero sexual interest in him.

Is this really enough to tear our family apart for? Our entire lives would change. We already live paycheck to paycheck, so supporting two residences would require a serious downgrade in our quality of life. I haven't worked in over 10 years. We live in an extremely high cost of living area (one of the highest in the US), but his job is here as well as all our family and friends, so leaving doesn't seem to make sense.

I don't want to be divorced. I don't want to be a single mom. I don't want to date and I don't want my kids to deal with mommy's boyfriend or daddy's girlfriend. But I don't know how long this can go on. I feel worse for him than me - he should be with someone who doesn't cring when he tries to be intimate.

Is this really enough of a reason to leave someone? Has anyone been through this?
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#2 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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Hi. I certainly don't know the answer to your question. But I thought I would share some of my thoughts in case they help you.
And you don't have to answer these questions here... just food for thought. How long have you felt this way about your husband? Do you know when it started? Was it gradual? Have you tried going to counseling (not together, just you)?
I honestly don't know if this is something that could change for you. And I don't know what the right thing to do if it can't change for you is. But it might be worth exploring to see if it can possibly change.
My situation was entirely different and I was married for much less time. But over the 10 years that I was with my ex, the lack of sexual attraction on my part was often an issue for us. Now, in hindsight, and having been in another relationship (a few years after our divorce), I can see a lot of reasons for that that I couldn't see then.
So I guess what I'm suggesting is that possibly, with some self work/exploration, you might come to understand why you feel the way you do differently. And maybe it is something that can change. Or maybe it's not. But understanding it better might better help your decision of whether you should stay married or not.

And I don't mean to suggest that this issue/responsibility is all yours. It may be that once you gain some understanding of your feelings there will be work the two of you need to do, or work that you will need him to do, if this has a chance of changing.

I know how hard it can be to feel like you are hurting someone you love and who loves you. Hugs to you.
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#3 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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#4 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Honestly? This coming from someone who doesn't really believe in marriage. No, I don't think those are reasons to end an otherwise good marriage. You've been together for 20 years, I'd be surprised if you were still having sex more often then once a month if at all. You've both been under a huge amount of stress this year, is it possible your depressed? That can really affect how one feels about there partner. I doubt your DH suddenly became like this, at some point you found these traits endearing or else you wouldn't have married him. Have you thought of counciling for yourself to help work though why you've changed your opinion of him?

Seriously?
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#5 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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Saw this on New Posts-- were you on hormonal contraception when you met him and now you're not, or vice versa? That can have that effect.
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#6 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Saw this on New Posts-- were you on hormonal contraception when you met him and now you're not, or vice versa? That can have that effect.
Thats true, those things need to come with a warning about the pheromone risks with those things. Wonder if there will ever be a lawsuit over those things tricking people into picking the wrong partner/ending relationships because of the pheromone changes.

Seriously?
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#7 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I was on the pill when we met, and have not been for over 9 years (and never will be again). I regret having taken them for so long.

I never found these traits endearing, but when we were in our early 20s, this stuff seemed age appropriate. Now that we're heading into 40 and raising two kids, I find it incredibly irritating and have a hard time respecting him as an adult. I always feel like screaming DO SOMETHING!!!!! It's not that he's lazy - he takes out the garbage and cleans just as much as I do, lawn care, etc. etc. There's just no initiative, no ideas, no take charge, no . . . umph. And yes, his body is an issue. Not just his weight, but the shape, the massive amounts of hair that have appeared - I feel like a terrible person but I can't stand it.

The way he interacts at social events just makes me angry. I used to have compassion for him, but I feel like I've just lost my patience. How long is he going to just stay stuck being the same ole schlump, you know? I've grown, made changes, done a lot of hard personal work, and he just la dee da's along. I mean, on one hand, I'm happy for him - he's a happier person than I am. But I can't help thinking of him as a happy idiot, you know?

Everywhere we go, I see other men our age taking on more adult roles. Our neighbor will mention in passing how her dh forwarded her a spanish class he found for their kids. We went to a swim team info night for the kids, and the guy who was the board president was a straight forward, confident, take charge guy. These are just two examples, but it's everywhere. I know it's not fair to compare - they might be horrible husbands or mean or whatever, but I just don't know how much longer I can take feeling like the only adult.

We just have a really bad dynamic where I am in charge of everything and he does what I tell him. It's not as simple as that, but in many cases that's how it works out. And the rare times he does take initiative about something, like putting in the lawn in the backyard, he's so freaking stressed about it that it ends up being a nightmare for all of us.

I can't count on him being thorough about anything he does. Like a few months ago he declared that he was going to start locking all the doors at night, and even made a big announcement like "This house will never be left unlocked at night again!" And for awhile he did - he locked all the doors at night, and it made me feel good that he had thought of something and then did it. But like everything else, it eventually fell by the wayside, and he doesn't do it anymore. He went to talk to the swim coach last night (something I was shocked by!) and came back to tell me that practices were every day. I was suspicious - it didn't sound right. I told him he should probably clarify that with the coach, but he just kept saying "Well, he's the coach, he should know." I later went up and talked to some of the people running the group, and it turns out practices are offered 5 days a week, but you are only required to attend 2 days a week.

He just does the most annoying things. Like when he stubs his toe he'll fall down on the floor writhing in pain. He has a nervous laugh when talking to waitstaff in restaurants. At parties he either doesn't engage with anyone or else he talks like a frat boy (which he never was, but somehow decided that this is how to connect with people).

I don't know. It all sounds very petty and shallow when I write it out. But it doesn't change the fact that I just have no romantic interest in him at all, and don't feel like I have an equal, adult partner.
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#8 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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I *so* know how you feel, and have no idea what is right or wrong in that situation.

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#9 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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You say that he is happier than you, but it doesn't sound like he's happy, either. From your description, it sounds like he's either stuck in a rut, or is fearful of change/growth.

My own personal and spiritual belief is that we are here on this earth to experience, change, evolve and grow. It is a fundamental belief, and something that I strive for, every moment of my life. My stbxh does not have this core belief. He used to speak with such disdain about how much I changed. Meanwhile, I was like..."THANK GODDESS I changed!"

At the same time, one is not more "right" than the other. They are different. And for the most part, they're not compatible when one party resists and/or rejects the other's philosophy.

If, as part of your own path of growth and change, you can accept your husband for who and what he is, and to give him the space to walk his own path then it is possible to resolve this. Can you take a few moments to write, either here or for yourself, some of the qualities that you really like, respect and appreciate about him?

Also, in this time of change while going through this divorce, I've been doing a lot of thinking and meditating on our shadow selves. Debbie Ford has some great resources and books about that if you look it up. Most of the time, the things that annoy us the most about others is a mirror of something about ourselves that we reject. And somehow, when we see this and acknowledge this within ourselves, it allows the charge to dissipate.

Hugs to you, mama. Kudos to you for reaching out and for taking this line of inquiry...it takes a lot of courage.
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#10 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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Hi I couldn't help but notice that you mention several things called "emotional needs" in the book, "His Needs, Her Needs."

Perhaps before considering the last resort, you could check out his website:

www.marriagebuilders.com

All his books are at my local library so probably will find the same.

Also, maybe a check up is in order to rule out other things?

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#11 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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You've gotten some really good advice here but I wanted to repeat others (especially robinchap1) have said: you focused in your initial post on his good qualities yet said you are unhappy. It's like you weren't letting yourself acknowledge what he does that makes you feel the way you do because you don't think the reasons are good enough. In your second post you go into the reasons why you think you aren't happy and that is GREAT that you can do that!

My situation was so similar to yours. I just felt like I was drifting from my then-dh...like I had this path and I had to follow it and dh wasn't part of it and *couldn't* be part of it because it's not who he is. I agree with what runes said; one is not better than the other, necessarily. But it doesn't change the fact that it creates for you (and perhaps for your dh but perhaps not) REAL UNHAPPINESS.

At the beginning, while my marriage was unravelling, I focused a lot on why my reasons for being unhappy weren't enough: he was a loving father, fairly ambitious, wasn't he? He didn't abuse me, didn't he? There came a point--after LOTS of therapy, meditation, introspection, talking with people, couple's therapy, journaling-all of which I recommend!--where I realized: it doesn't matter if my reasons for being unhappy don't seem like enough. I'd tried so hard to be happy with him and I just wasn't so I accepted it. I accepted that it wasn't going to happen, no matter how many good things about him I could point out. (FWIW, I had also long since lost all sexual attraction to him and felt both guilty and depressed about it!) I decided to honor my feelings, because they weren't going away and by suppressing them I was only making things so much worse for myself--and for him, too, ultimately.

That's NOT to say that my path is the same as yours. Like I said, I recommend therapy--individual and couples--or at least some sort of practice that gets you in touch with what is going on inside yourself and what your true desires are. Maybe therapy will get you both connected in a way that you didn't think possible, and on a shared path.

But whatever you do, DON'T discredit that voice inside you by thinking that it doesn't have a right to think and feel what it does. This is your spirit and it will not be ignored. You will be much happier in the long run, and I truly believe this, if you honor it and learn to listen to it instead of second-guessing it. It will tell you when you are on the right path if you really learn to listen to it.

Best of luck on your journey and be proud of yourself for being open enough to face these feelings and fears!!!

Mama to a beautiful girl since May 2007 and a beautiful boy since August 2010! :
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#12 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Counseling for you solo, for you both ... and whatever other reflective processes help you look deeply, consider the consequences of staying or leaving and arrive a a truly "best" decision.

I do not believe adults' "happiness" should trump the stability, security and general happiness of the children for whom we have voluntarily taken responsibility.

My stbx (don't I wish) -- now lives "his way" -- sleeping late, living in squalor, playing computer games all night while his children are in childcare before he is even awake and are in institutional care 11 hours a day; we can no long afford those activities that would truly enrich their lives; even their home is in jeopardy ... all for his "happiness."

Not saying that is your situation, just that I feel a lot of adults rationalize tremendous selfishness with very real negative consequence visited on their children as a result.

Otoh, a home were there is hatred or gut ripping depression. and disfunction are not good for children -- those are situations where the children would be better off in a divorce. And, of course in the case of abuse.


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#13 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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I don't think your children should suffer because of your marriage. There doesn't seem to be any abuse and you can "work" to iron some things out.

How old your kids?
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#14 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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I think its flawed thinking that all people should be happy with one partner for the majority of their life. If you've gone down a path that is far from the one he is on, why try so hard to live together? In your situation, it seems like your kids and you will have alot more positive experiences if you are free to keep changing and growing without guilt or feeling irritated every day. Your dh will also be free to be himself and grow if he chooses too, if you live separately. I'm not knocking lifelong commitments, because some people thrive within that setting. In your situation tho, it seems like your partnership is holding you back because you're distracted by his way of life. jmo. I wish you peace & inspiration.

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#15 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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Can you still live with him and parent with him and be friends with him - but- both see other people romantically? I know that is a long shot for some and for others I think it could work well if both people were in agreement.
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#16 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Saw this on New Posts-- were you on hormonal contraception when you met him and now you're not, or vice versa? That can have that effect.
I was going to say the same thing.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#17 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 08:23 PM
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But how old are your kids? Honestly I'd wait until they're older than 10 to get divorced. At that point, though, you may want to seriously consider making some changes.

Developmentally, the 7--10 age range is a really hard range to have divorced parents. (And I know this is the Single Parenting forum and I'm NOT judging anyone, but just trying to give the OP my 2 cents.)

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#18 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Yes, I was on the pill when we met, and have not been for over 9 years (and never will be again). I regret having taken them for so long.
OK, you understand that taking the pill changes your sense of smell so that you are most sexually attracted to people who are genetically similar to you? And that when you go off the pill, your sense of smell reverts to being sexually attracted to people who are genetically dissimilar, while those who are genetically similar become sexually repulsive? Regardless of personality traits?
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#19 of 62 Old 01-30-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
OK, you understand that taking the pill changes your sense of smell so that you are most sexually attracted to people who are genetically similar to you? And that when you go off the pill, your sense of smell reverts to being sexually attracted to people who are genetically dissimilar, while those who are genetically similar become sexually repulsive? Regardless of personality traits?
Which brings to question, how long has the OP been unhappy with her DH?

Seriously?
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#20 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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Is there any chance at having an open relationship?
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#21 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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Therapy. You would really benefit from a good marriage therapist - having been there I am sure of it. Why not give it a shot? Your marriage and your family are worth the investment.

Baby Boy 9/08 & Baby Girl 3/11

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#22 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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Hi, I just wanted to post that you're incredibly brave to be asking the question.

I have gone through similar feelings about my DH and find that when I begin to focus on me and what I'm doing, rather than him and what he's not doing, then I'm a lot happier.

I refuse to parent an adult and my new motto is "Everyone is responsible for their own happiness." Also this quote, " Noone really cares if you're miserable, so you might as well be happy."


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#23 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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I can really sympathize with your unhappiness. It is important to feel like you respect your husband as a man. It sounds like these things are things that have really festered over time, on a small scale, for you and are now just getting more pronounced in your mind. I agree with others, though, who have said that "happiness" is not the main goal of marriage, or even life. I think you and your husband are providing something irreplaceable for your children- a loving and stable home. I am wondering if the things you are finding upsetting and irritating are things that can be worked on with a counselor. I don't believe that attraction, respect, or even love are always things that are "just there" and require no work. I think there are ebbs and flows of these things in a marriage and sometimes it takes genuine work to uncover, rediscover, or even begin to build feelings of attraction and love. I wouldn't throw away what you have, especially not without a knock-down drag out fight for it, involving therapy and supportive friends who want to help your marriage succeed (not just tell you what you want to hear.) Best wishes to you and your family.

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#24 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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It is repeated often here that children deserve a stable happy environment. But right now they are not having that loving environment. The resentment the OP feels for her husband is not invisible - the children WILL pick up on it. It DOES create tensions and I very much question whether this environment is the best of possible places for her children to be.
I don't know to what extend therapy or councelling will help in this case - it sounds to me like they simply outgrew eachother and that now it is time for some serious changes.

OP mentions her husband being a good person and a good father - so we have two good parents who are just not good together. It sounds to me like if she leaves they will have good chances at having a very civil and maybe even over time friendly relationship about the children and I think both parents will eventually be happier that way.
I am pretty sure the kids wouldnt appreciate changes like that just right now, but they grow up too and one day they will understand why things went the way they did. They still have loving parents - a divorce won't change that. Maybe then they will have loving and happy parents. I agree with the OP that her husband deserves someone who respects him for who he is. Just as she deserves to be happy.
I don't believe in sacrificing your own happiness for your children - I sacrifice a LOT for my children - I take responsibility for them, but if I am to be a good loving mother to them I need to be a whole person too. I personally could not live every day of my life with a person i despised and I totally get why the OP can't either. And I honestly do not believe it can be hidden from the children. Kids do pick up on stuff like that. And it does affect them.
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#25 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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well, to the OP. i just did this.
and yes, no matter what, i think this was the right decision. He and I just had no spark, we never really did. I love him, he is a great father and supporter of our family.
But I chose to part with him because I am a sexual being and it is really important for my spiritual, emotional, phsyical and mental health. And it wasn't just the sex or the attraction, but the lack of holistic connection. I haven't been with him for too long (3 years) but the thought of going any longer seemed crazy to me. I don't want to be one of those women who "stays together for the kids" and then freaks out as soon as they leave home.
And honestly, my ex and I have come to a coherent agreement where, instead of him helping pay for daycare, he will help support me (to the tune of what daycare would cost) so that I can still be a stay-at-home mom, because we both believe that is healthier for our child. and we are choosing to live in the same home, but in separate apartments within one building. We still have some family dinners together and are friends. I know one other couple who has worked this way and have for 10 years (their son is 13 now and a happy, well adjusted kid).

There are ways that you can keep a coherent family unit but not be together as sexual partners.

And yes, there is hurt and I feel sad that I have brought it to him, but honestly, life is short. if you feel a big part of you is not being satisfied, then find a way to change it, while still maintaining a good life for your family.

Family is important, but it is also important to know that family can be created in many ways and does not have to be "mom and dad sleep in the same bed and live with the kids". The most important thing is for you and your husband to be empowered and happy and most able to provide good, loving and healthy role models to your children. That aspect of it made me think a lot about my choice, because I thought "man, is my little girl going to grow up thinking that this is what marriage is?" because i don't think it needs to be, or should be.

anyways, much support to you momma.
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#26 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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I think ytou should both get counseling.

I read a lot of critism and judgment in your posts. like even if he tries something it will never be good enough. I can see how that can effect him socially, effect his weight, effect his willoingness to try anything new. what he does do is good enough, what if the new thing isn't? Do you appreciate how hard he works? So that you can do all those things you do? once you are a single mom you will not have time for all that life enriching personal growth.

you said he is your best friend. That is something worth working on. I am willing to bet that if you leave it will crush him and you will not onlyt lose your best friend but you will lose your husband. as well as homeschooling, half the custody of your children and the abolity to stay home, and all the things in life that make you comfortable. Every time some little hold over luxury from my past pops up my friend and I joke about "hmm back when I was rich (I wasn't but I certainly had some breathing room) " but i ask myself each time "was it worth it" Was it worth it to give up everything to get out? I gave up being a stay at home mom, homeschooling, my children are not as healthy or fit as they were, we have no money, I slave away at two jobs and I am alone all the time. all them time.

you seem really unhappy with yout life. I think you need to adress that before throwing anything away.
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The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#27 of 62 Old 01-31-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Seriously??? I came on here today, to see if anyone else is going through what I've been going through in the past year.... and I found your post... and it's almost exactly my situation... of course there are some things that are different, but that's to be expected.

I too am a SAHM who homeschools and that is SO important to me, I'm debating whethere my dreams for my kids overrules living miserably for the next 20 years??

How old are your kids? Can you get a job to support you and the kids, mostly? How on earth would you ever get him to leave? If he seems happy, he's probably going to refuse to face there are any issues, kinda like me... sort of!!

Ahhhh!!!! Life is crazy sometimes, and I can't believe you are debating the same thing at me.
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#28 of 62 Old 02-01-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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oceanbaby yes i went thru that. but the shoe was on the other foot. meaning i was the one being left behind with a baby. it was an agonising decision for ex and we stayed together too long that it really ended up souring our relationship.

speaking from someone who was devastated and was affected financially - i cant say how grateful i am. i recall by the time i noticed the troubles i was starting to get indifferent myself. however single motherhood?!!!!! NO WAY!!! or so i thought.

things got bad. the more he withdrew, the more i clung on.

however looking back 6 years later - i am at peace. it was hard/is hard. however i chose it this way. i tried the working and making money but it was v. v. dissatisfying enough to pull me down mentally. i am a different person being a poor fulltime student. i get more time with dd - and she really gets to do a lot of cool things and opportunities that many 7 year olds dont get. it was the best decision for dd. because we parented soooo differently. he is a good dad but way too strict. dd is a free spirit who loves her dad but disagrees with him.

i have seen her suffer and mature. she is 7. yes life has been tough on her. and i think it has definitely help her mature. 'build character'. she has handled situation that a child of her age struggles with. something even her teacher has pointed out. however i think if we had stayed together - life would have been worse for dd. i would not have been able to give her as much attention as i am giving her now.

so it worked for us.

plus another aspect. having seen 'indifferent' marriages of family members in my youth, as a teenager i swore to myself that i would never ever stay in a relationship which had no connection anymore.

definitely for those years - you owe it to pursue what is it that is making you feel that way.

you also have to see the practicalities. and if you have to wait till your kids are 18 do so. if you cant. you cant. you are not being selfish if you want to end it now.

the only stability children need are 'happy', content parents. everything else comes next.

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#29 of 62 Old 02-01-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
once you are a single mom you will not have time for all that life enriching personal growth.
Well, I agree that counseling might help both of them, but I have to gently disagree with this statement. I'm a single mom and while I'm busy, I find I actually have much more time and energy for life-enriching personal growth than I did when I was in an unsatisfactory relationship.
Seie, I agree that while we as mothers should and do sacrifice a tremendous amount for our kids, we are not obligated to sacrifice our personal happiness. All long term relationships have ups and downs, and it's worth riding it out for a while, getting counseling, focusing on improving yourself, that sort of thing. But in the end, if you're in a relationship with no sexual spark and no respect that is making you unhappy, at some point you can choose to leave it. It's not a choice to make lightly -- but your lifelong happiness is also something you shouldn't take lightly.
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Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#30 of 62 Old 02-01-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I didn't really leave because of this issue, but if i hadn't HAD this issue then the reasons i left (basically his childishness and selfishness came to a giant head when DD was born) might have been surmountable i guess.

I don't buy into the point of marriage not being happiness. I think the point of LIFE is happiness, and i wouldn't enter into anything or stay in anything which made me miserable, no matter how apparently noble the reasons were. And i don't believe my DD can be happy when i am miserable or that teaching or expecting her to be is good for her personal development ultimately.

I personally want to raise a HAPPY kid, who lives a happy life. I care if my grandchildren have stability, but i managed to be happy and provide stability despite the break-up so i don't see how DD wouldn't be able to, if being with her kids father also made her unhappy and caused her to leave him.

I don't believe that marriage is the only way to found a family, or that children can only be secure with both parents bound to one another and living in the same house in monogamy. My DD sees her father 5-6 times a week and lives overnight with him once a week, we are welcome guests in one another's homes, she gets on great with her step father and is eagerly awaiting her new baby (half) sibling this summer. I think sometimes people talk themselves and each other into unhappiness-based-on-deviation-from-a-cultural-norm. I know lots of kids who will say sadly "mummy and daddy don't live together any more" but when you quiz them on WHY that is sad they don't know - it's sad because someone told them it's sad. Whereas i know several kids who will tell me about how mummy and daddy were screaming at each other again last night, but then follow up with some comment on how at least they aren't divorced. If you make separation into the devil then kids (and adults) will fear it and seek to avoid it. But actually growth and change can be incredibly healthful and rewarding.

If i were you i'd have counselling before i did anything, and maybe even with the two of you, to see if anything can be done, but ultimately even justified/understood unhappiness is unhappiness. Do you deserve to be happy?
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