Keep fighting or leave?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2012
Keep fighting or leave?
Wed, 07-10-2013 - 3:53pm

My husband and I have been having problems for more than a year. We've been in counciling but he hasn't really been trying. He's told me over the past few weeks that he gave up on our marriage years ago and does not believe he can ever be happy with me again. 

After he told me that he will never be happy, I went to look at an apartment and priced some furniture. It's hard to even think about my life without him after being together for more than half my life and having two kids together. But I was prepared to move on, get my apartment and start a new life for me and my kids. 

The other night, he asked me what would change if we stayed together. I told him that I would do anything I had to to do help us become happy again because I love him and want to make this work. He finally told me that he didn't want to hurt the kids by telling them that we were getting a divorce, he doesn't want to hurt me by leaving and he doesn't want to worry about me financially if we weren't together. I told him that I want him to stay and work on this because he WANTS to make it work and be happy again, not because of the kids or because he feels sorry for me. 

He told me that if he stays, it would only be because of those things. 

Now I have to decide if I want to stay in a marriage with a man who is only there out of pity and not wanting to hurt me and the kids or if I want to hurt my kids and move on. 

I truly love him and know in my heart that we could be happy again if he just gave us an honest chance but he does't seem willing to do that. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 07-10-2013 - 4:36pm

I don't think you can assume that you know or can predict how someone else feels.  If he has already given up on your marriage & thinks that he can't be happy again, then to me, he isn't going to be putting any effort into the marriage.  He will just be there like a roommate.  And you said that YOU would do anything to save the marriage--what is HE going to do?  Unless it's an obvious problem that you have and can stop doing, like say you had a gambling addiction and would stop that or if you were cheating on him and promised not to do that--then I could see that maybe you could fix the problems by yourself.  If the problems are more subtle, like lack of compatibility or he's just unhappy being married, how are you going to fix that by yourself if he is unwilling to put effort into it?

So I guess it's up to you if you want him around just as a fixture in the house for financial reasons or a companion or to be there as a father and can deal with the fact that your marriage won't be that great.  Some people can put up with that, some can't.  I also think that "not hurting the kids" is a poor reason to stay married.  Some people say they will stay married until the kids go to college thinking that when the kids are adults they won't care that their parents are getting a divorce--that is very rarely true.  The kids will still be upset even if they are adults.  of course kids never want their parents to get divorced, but it happens and as long as both parents continue to take part in the kids' lives and can deal respectfully toward each other, then I don't think the kids are going to be damaged in the long run--I can see this w/ my own kids.  I got divorced 16 yrs ago so my kids are grown up now.  they have never had any problems relating to the divorce and they get along well with both parents.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 10:49am

I agree 100% with musiclover.  There is nothing there to "fight" for.  You can't make someone love you. Nor is it advisable emotionally to spend your days with someone who has told you he gave up on your relationship years ago.  What kind of person do you think you will be in a year or two years or ten years, living with someone like that?

Not only that, but the odds of him actually sticking around in a loveless marriage long-term are slim to none.  We can only chafe so long against constraints.  Sooner or later he will find someone else, tell her he hasn't loved his wife in years, and is only staying for the kids - and he'll be telling the truth.  Why waste your years devoted to that person?

It would be better in the long run for you to go on and open yourself up to someone who *can* love you and who wants to make the effort.  That prospect may seem simply unbelievable right now, but it can happen.  All of my sisters divorced after having children, and all remarried in their 40s and are still happily married in their late 50s and early 60s.  Not only that, but my nieces & nephews are all great adults who survived the divorce very well, have wonderful relationships with their mothers, and get along with their stepparents.  None of them believe their parents should have stayed married.

I believe marriages require work, but they will not succeed when only one person wants to do the work. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2013
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 12:20pm

I'm sorry for what you're going through.  I think the others have given you solid advice.  If he's not willing to work on the marriage and leaves it all to you, what's the point?  Based on what you've written, it sounds to me like he just doesn't want to be seen as the "bad guy" by the kids.  There's really no reason for the kids to see either of you as the "bad guy" as long as the two of you can be respectful and friendly towards one another.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Thu, 07-11-2013 - 3:49pm

I don't think there's anything to fight for if he is already so detached. He's already checked out of the marriage, he just doesn't want to hurt you or the kids but ultimately everybody will be hurt if you stay together and you're both unhappy. If or when he meets somebody that he wants to be involved with he will probably decide to separate then, so staying together is not really a long term solution. Like the others said, kids can weather divorce well when the parents are amicable and remain involved with the kids. Maybe the best thing for you now is to talk to a divorce lawyer about how to get a good arrangement for your kids and yourself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 1:43am

I agree with the others.  And you don't "truly love" loved him once, and you love what you wish he could or would be.  There's no point in staying together.  He's not happy, you're not happy, and believe me, your kids aren't happy either.  If you make it a civil divorce, the kids will be happy with both of you. Fighting doesn't solve anything.  Move on, and maybe find someone who WILL love you.....he's no longer invested in the marriage or in you.

Avatar for lizmvr
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2001
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 6:05pm

I probably agree most with Fissatore. Think about what you're actually saying when you say you'd do anything to save the marriage. What are you actually trying to save? If you're trying to save the family from living apart, then stay, let him contribute as he seemingly has been since he admitted he hasn't really been happy. If you're trying to get him to be more emotionally open, though, and won't want to stay with him if he doesn't change, then I agree that you're not really loving him at this point. IMO, you're loving what you think you want him to be.

You say that you're in counseling, but that it's not working because your husband's not doing his part. Have you thought of what he was like realistically when you met him? What were you like back then? Could it be that he wasn't what you wanted him to be at that point either?

I guess I tend to think that he's actually trying to honor his vow to stay married. I don't get the impression that he's cheating and he wants to be supportive of you and the kids. However, I understand that you're feeling that his support isn't enough for you to be happy or feel loved, even if he thinks he's exhibiting love in his concern for your wellbeing and that of the kids. Of course I don't know what your counselor is telling you two, but it seems to me that you both have very different ideas of what a marriage is. Maybe you should talk about that with each other and the counselor?


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