Redefining the Relationship

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-2012
Redefining the Relationship
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 8:17am

So after a lot of discussions with a family member that is a counselor I am considering staying with H for my DS's sake.  H has said he would "do anything" if I would stay, including redefining our relationship.  I talked to a lawyer yesterday and got some good legal advice about how to do things to protect myself and DS.  So the plan is to file a divorce complaint to create a legal date of separation, dissolve all joint accounts and move to completely separate finances, and then live together basically as roommates in order to co-parent DS.  Not happy about living with him for potentially 13 more years, but he is being a jerk about everything and will make this even more painful than it will already be for DS.  H and I talked about it last night and I think we have most of the logistics worked out and agreed to except for one thing.  He wants to be able to "have his needs met elsewhere."  No girlfriends or anything like that because that would ruin the illusion we are trying to maintin for DS.  I said no and H said that it wasn't fair that I am setting all the terms of the new relationship.  He also said it wasn't fair that if I wasn't going to perform my "wifely" duties and meet his needs then he should be able to have them met elsewhere. We will basically be separated and I know plenty of people date and have relationships whle they are separated and waiting for a divorce.  Is there anything I can I say to counter him?  It is true that I have no sexual needs right now (long story about that) so I fully intend to remain celebate and it won't be a problem for me at all.  I really don't care if he is with other women from an emotional point of view but I guess my problem is that while adultery isn't illegal in PA, it is grounds for a divorce and if he wants to have other women then just agree to the divorce and we both move on.  He also wants me to sign a contract saying I won't use this against him in the eventual divorce.  I have a HUGE problem with both items.  Any thoughts on what arguments I can counter with?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 11:26am

I just think this is a huge mistake--I could see doing it for 1 or 2 yrs if your child was going to graduate from high school but if you think you can maintain the "illusion" that you & DH are a happily married couple for 13 yrs while you are living as roommates and that your child won't notice, think again--kids aren't that stupid.  I don't know why you would be willing to put your life (& happiness) on hold for that long.  I also think that even if you supposedly "agree" that he won't have sex w/ anyone else, it's probably not realistic to expect that a man with normal sexual desires is going to be celibate for 13 yrs.  If you really want a separation instead of a divorce, have him move to a different place, pay you child support and each one of you live your own lives.  Why not do this for the 2 yr waiting period & then get a divorce?  I also disagree w/ going to a family member for a counselor because they can't be objective.  A professional counselor should know better than to give professional advice to a family member anyway.  But I'd suggest if you're going to live together for any length of time supposedly to help your son, that you & DH should go to counseling together to figure out how to meet your sons' needs the best way possible--hostility between you certainly isn't best for son at all.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-2012
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 11:42am
Ugh! I am so confused. I don't know what to do. I want to do what is best for DS. I know that what is really best is that H and I work things out but that isn't going to happen. H is not going to allow this be anything less than a messy, ugly, nasty, divorce. So what is worse - putting DS through that or living together as roommates to co-parent DS?
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 11:53am

How old is your DS? 

My kids were 15 - 23 when the divorce happened and I believe it's easier when kids are younger to divorce.  Kids adjust to change much easier than adults or kids, like mine, who being a "family" was all they ever knew growing up.

  I agree with Music...13 years is a LONG time to put YOUR happiness and life on hold.  I have a cousin who divorced her good-for-nothing first husband when HER kids were 2, 4, and 6 and THEIR normal now is Mom, Stepdad, and them.  They probably don't even remember their parents ever BEING married.  (Dad's out of the picture for now.)  Kids are now 14, 12, and 10 and are happy, well-adusted kids.  Anyway, your son would adjust...I promise you. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 1:18pm

UNLESS you and your DH are committed to making a very aggressive attempt at reconciling and making the changes necessary to make the marriage work, I would advise against co-habitation for any length of time beyond what is legally necessary.

I would also point out that this compromise you presented was because HE is against divorce and you were making an effort to best accomodate your son. 

I would also say flat out that unless he can make the family a priority and make the sacrifices necessary to create the ideal homelife for everyone, then maybe he needs to start meeting with lawyers and get his ducks in a row.

I would most definitely file the divorce complaint and start putting your ducks in a row.  And I would put him in a position where he will need to find employment and start fending for himself. 

Your DH doesn't want a divorce, because he has it pretty fly right now.  He is financially dependent on you, can basically do as he pleases, and is an a-hole.  And he gets away with it all.  Of course he is going to be difficult.  If you two get a divorce, then he has to find a job, wont be able to do as he pleases and wont have anyone to be an a-hole to. 

As for your son.  I think kids can sense when things aren't healthy, and co-habitation is not the answer.  The divorce might get ugly.  But the end result gives him at the very least, one healthy parent he can rely on.  With the co-habitation, he will have one parent making an attempt at creating an ok homelife, and a Dad who will take advantage anyway he can.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 9:50pm

I have to agree with the other posters and also say.... what????????????????????????????????????

When I read 13 years I thought I was seeing things.. That is a very long time to be with someone you dont want to be with.....Life is short enough without giving more time and energy and whatever else to a  man you do not like.. that makes no sense to me..

You think you will be able to deal with this on a day to day basis and stay neutral but trust me you wont.. When I lived with my exH for the one half years before the divorce and all and before I could leave I used to think well I will stay neutral and just ignore him.. Well? I did the best I could and it was for a short time but there were days that were so difficult that I wanted to kill myself or him.. I remember at times I would be cooking in the kitchen and I knew that my ex would be looking at the food. Well? I would offer him some because I felt like it was the right thing to do.. He would actually eat my food and I had to scrape to buy that food as he gave me no money towards it.. I also had to watch mine go to his gfriends house while I sat home and did nothing.. I would watch him get all dressed up and look good and he would walk out the door to her house.. I would hear him on the phone with her laughing and having fun.. He would help her with all of her problems while I would sit in my room and think what the hell am I doing?? So it wont be as easy as you think and for 13 years ?? Wow. there has to be a better way..


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-24-2012
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 9:21am
Thanks everyone for the advice! Not sure what is going to happen but H isn't happy with what I proposed for a living arrangement (because it is no longer his idea) and wants to know what a divorce settlement might be (custody, equitable distribution, support). So, looks like we are headed back to a divorce. My lawyer is filing the complaint today or tomorrow so I am just going to take things one day at a time and see whether H is going to agree to a divorce and work on a settlement or if he is going to make me wait the 2 yrs to get the divorce without his agreement.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2013
Sun, 04-21-2013 - 12:02am

I don't think it's a good idea to raise children in an unhappy marriage.  Please, don't believe that staying together for the children is going to make things better for them than a divorce.  I grew up with parents like that and I was well aware they didn't have sex and barely could stand each other.  They exchanged very littel affection for each other over the course of my entire childhood.  They bickered and resented each other and that created enormous stress and anxiety for me.  Your children will very likely know you and your husband don't have a good, stable, committed relationship.  Most kids are grossed out by seeing their parents engage in PDA, I longed to have parents who even seemed to like each other and showed it.  I don't think it's normal to really want to catch your parents in an embrace and kiss, but that's something I've never seen my parents do...ever.  Well, not if you count my dad giving my 68 year old mother a peck on the cheek while she was lying in her hospital bed after her stroke.