The toughest decision of my life

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  • #50850 Report


    Hi everyone. I’m brand new to this forum and just reaching out for any advise, support of shared experiences that can help me to be strong. I finally ended my 24 year relationship yesterday. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and although I know it’s the right thing for me, I feel heartbroken and so guilty. We have 4 children together, who are really shocked and there are so many tears at home. I’ve stayed in the relationship for the past 5 years because I feared the impact on the children. My husband doesn’t want this, even though he admits to the relationship deteriorating over the past few years and us trying hasn’t changed that. His values are never to split a family even if not happy. He believes it’s selfish of me because I’m going to damage our children for the rest of their lives. So I’m scared of the huge changes, for us all but also feeling like the worlds worst person. My mental health has really suffered the past few years and I’ve been treated for depression the past 12 months. But I knew the huge elephant in the room was being in the relationship and feeling so trapped. I have children who are young adults/late teens now but it doesn’t seem any easier that they are older. They are all struggling in their own ways with the pandemic, loss of jobs and family bereavement.I knew that the strength I needed to be the mum they need, was fading. I have been low, lacked motivation and trying to manage their needs, a stressful full time job and fighting up against a brick wall for so long trying to change my relationship with my husband. But after yesterday, I feel like I’ve done more damage to them. They are all devastated. And scared about how our lives will change. Their dad is making it clear that he doesn’t want it and it’s all my doing. He won’t take responsibility for his part in it coming to this. I’m hurting so bad too because I really wanted this not to be the outcome. It’s not fair on either of us to put up with an existence and at 48 I feared that I we will stay in that existence into our 50’s, 60’s and never make the change. We have lost respect for each other, often don’t like each other, have no intimacy and have very different goals for the future. I’ve felt like a single person for the past 2 years.
    Any advice or understanding would be really appreciated. I’ve woke this morning feeling like it’s all a dream.

    #50878 Report


    Hi, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I was with my husband from the age of 14, I’m now 48, we have a 13 yr daughter. I left 3 years ago, got the same reasons you did and more! It is so hard and still is, I met another man quite soon. My ex and me are now divorced, but he still hounds me with texts and makes me feel so bad and guilty. He hasn’t moved on. Just to let you know it kinda gets a big easier, but giving the length of time of being together, makes it hard, so many memories, of pretty much all of your life. Stay strong, think of yourself. If you need a chat, I can try and help. Karen☺️

    #50901 Report



    I hear you are hurting and doubting but I applaud you for your brave decision.  Change can be painful and uncomfortable and your children will naturally be grieving (as will you too I imagine) this loss.  Yet you have shown courage to be honest with yourself, your feelings and to take action and responsibility for your own life and this is a far more powerful, deeper lesson for them I believe. I grew up with parents who were obviously not in love, fought horrendously and I wanted them to separate although they didn’t (only later once we had left home).  My father stayed in the marriage because he had come from a broken home and bore the scars and thought he would be repeating that with his own if he left (instead wounding in another way.)

    Sometimes doing the right thing can feel wrong and we get guilt feelings (if we co-dependent traits of putting others first too much.)

    All the best for your steps ahead xx


    #50905 Report


    I totally get it. Last summer I did the same to my husband.told him our very long marriage was over. Older kids were shocked. I was under a lot of pressure to give him and our marriage another go. From the older kids and him.
    fast forward to now, and he’s back in the house. (He did move out) I cracked under the pressure. I have absolutely no feelings for him and a huge mistake to let him back in the house. I felt I was bullied in a way. He started to manipulate the kids. They in turn started to blame me. And take his side. I never wanted any of them to take sides and to keep completely out of his but he’s manipulative and used them against me.. it’s all a mess to be honest.
    my advice to you is to stay strong and don’t back down!! If in your heart you know it’s over then follow through.
    Good luck and stay strong

    #51145 Report


    I’ve just joined this group because I feel so low and scared and alone and reading your post is like we are living parallel lives. Every part of your post even our ages and length of relationship/kids/scenario everything. I had a heart to heart with my eldest yesterday but still need to tell my twins who are 14. It’s heartbreaking and I just feel like sleeping all the time, I think it’s because my head just wants to stop worrying about it all for just a while. I’m scared if I don’t do it I’ll regret it and plod along knowing things are not right. We only live once don’t we!? But I’m so scared of the impact on everyone, I’m scared or being lonely and I’m scared financially. I’m scared full stop.

    #51150 Report


    To JudyJules,

    I hope you are feeling better. I admire your bravery. You should feel proud of yourself. You said this is enough, and your life does have meaning. You were living a life of a lie. Keeping up appearances. Keeping the family together. For your husband and your children, this is all a big dramatic shock and change to the happy family they thought were happening. Strangely, a lot of people around you must have noticed how sad you really was, and the red flags of what is acceptable behaviour in a relationship. Is sometimes better to say nothing than to stand up and say this is not right. The hardest step is the first step. You may feel shakey, not knowing what is going to happen. It is like being on a tightrope. You could fall if you don’t get your balance but, you could also success by just taking another step. Each day you will become stronger.

    If you are in a broken relationship where there is no respect, no intimacy, no happiness. You could feel like a walking zombie. You are just lying to yourself and people you love that you are ok when clearly you are not.

    If you are having mental health problems, problems sleeping, even dark thoughts. Your body and in particular your brain is telling you. Something is wrong. You don’t need medicine to make you feel happy. You need to get to the root of the problem. Your husband. You are in your prime. You don’t need to put up with this emotional or sexual abuse. We as women need to say. This is not how we should be treated. Having sex and having intimate is an enjoyable experience. Withholding sex is a form of abuse.

    I did the ‘Freedom course’ which explains how men and women use different technique to control their partner either by their words, finances, sex…I concluded those men and women control their partner, as they think or have picked up this learned behaviour so their partner will not leave them.

    Everyone reacts differently to change. In psychology, there are 7 stages of coping with change. How your husband and children reacted to change in their own ways of coping. Their behaviour and thought are personal to themselves. You have no control over that.

    Don’t be scared of change there is a lot of financial support out there. Apply for universal credits, try to get all the necessary benefits you can. Maybe get a part-time job. You need to work 16 hrs to be considered for universal credits. Some charities offer grants. Foodbank for weekly food donations, toiletries, nappies..You can make it work.

    We are all strong, don’t put up with an unequal relationship this is abuse. Staying in a broken relationship can also be damaging to our children. They will pick up these subconscious behaviour and secret messages. You don’t want your future daughter or son in law crying at your feet about how your son or daughter has treated them.

    Stay positive, breath, we have only one life, we are not having a dress rehearsal, we are living every moment now!

    #51321 Report


    How are you doing?
    i have made the same move on 6th jan after 21 yrs (17 married) with a husband and who believes in till death do us part. The guilt is killing me but I know we would be happier apart. I can’t live a lie for another 20 years.
    hope your situation is ok and you are doing ok. We are doing the right thing!! Xx

    #51452 Report


    Just wanted to say how brave I think you are and that you are doing the right thing, even though it is hard and painful.  I have just ended a 20 year relationship and it is scary as hell, but I know I am doing the right thing.  I too stayed too long to keep the family unit together, but then I realised I deserved to have a happy life too.  Now I want to show my kids what a happy mum looks like and hopefully in the future, what a healthy relationship looks like, so in the future my kids won’t stay in an unhappy relationship, and will have a respectful and happy one instead.

    Be honest with your kids about how unhappy you were in the relationship (age appropriate and no blaming other parent).  No child wants their parents to be unhappy.  Also, get as much support for you and your kids as possible – Young minds have a great website which covers almost everything for kids and lots of schools have support available too.  Womans aid for advise for yourself and please reach out to friends for support to.  You don’t have to go through this alone.  Take good care.

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