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Ending a 43 year marriage

(73 Posts)
daisy60 Wed 29-Apr-15 10:35:52

This is my first post on gransnet and I am looking for advice, empowerment, support, humour and all manner of positive things.
I married at 21 had two beautiful children in my 20's and now have 3 fabulous grandchildren. I had a successful professional career and retired at 60 (now nearly 65). To cut a long, long story short I cannot stand my husband any longer (I feel so guilty writing that). I do not wish to just go on about all of the negative feelings I have about him. I have come to realise that our marriage is over and has been for a very long time. I constantly ask myself why I have stayed for so long. Now I feel my life is a complete mess because I have stayed too long in a dead marriage, I realise there really is little point in looking back, but I know I must do something as I cannot bear the thought of getting any older with him. It is not permanently awful, we do still laugh and occasionally we do go away.
My husband is a manic depressive and prefers to sit at home drinking. He still works full time and I am happy when he is at work. I dread the weekends. I know my relationship is toxic and I know it is time to go. I will be 65 in August and do not feel old and still feel positive about life, I do however feel so angry at my husband, this is not always fair or justified but he is so negative about everything and the negativity really brings me down too. We have also spent all of our adult lives together and going fills me with fear for the future. But staying scares me even more.
We have a lovely home and my son and daughter and their partners are supportive of me and I count my blessings for that. When we sell our home there will not be enough for us to both have a home in our area, this worries me a lot. I also have a lovely yellow Labrador who is my best friend. Thank you so much for reading this.

Mishap Wed 29-Apr-15 10:53:13

Daisy60 - I am sorry that things have reached this point for you.

There are posters on here who have made the break after many years of marriage and I hope they will be able to give you good advice.

A few thoughts:

- Marriage Guidance?
- do your children know the situation?
- would they support you of you made the break? - you do not want to create a situation where you lose contact with your children.
- Marriage break-ups cause lots of challenges for the wider family and you need to be ready to deal with those.

I hope that you can find a way through this and send all good wishes.

Brummiegran Wed 29-Apr-15 10:53:21


Stansgran Wed 29-Apr-15 10:55:13

I am sure other people with sensible advice will come along just wanted to give you flowers

shysal Wed 29-Apr-15 11:25:35

Welcome to Gransnet, Daisy flowers, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Your story is so similar to mine, apart from the drinking. Approaching 60 and retirement, I couldn't stand the thought of being at home together. For years we had lived separate lives in the same house, and everything about him annoyed me. Just being in his presence raised the hackles on the back of my neck.

I plucked up the courage to have a free 30 minutes appointment with a solicitor, and discovered that I had grounds for divorce with a 50/50 split, and went ahead with it. We sold up and had just enough funds to afford a tiny terraced house each. Our daughters, both married, think I should have done it years earlier, but I hadn't wanted to upset them
I have stated many times on here that I have never been happier, and living alone is stress free. It is wonderful to do what I want when I want, without being answerable to anyone. I have had to be careful with money, no longer able to afford luxuries or holidays, but life in retirement is one long vacation!

I hope you manage to overcome your fears, and I wish you well if you decide to end the marriage. I would, however, urge you to get all the finances on a legal footing. I discovered that the husband whom I thought was an honourable man became awkward once a new woman came into his life, and refused to stick to our gentleman's agreement over pension-splitting etc., leading to an expensive court battle. The law has since changed, so should be more straight forward for you. Good luck!

NotTooOld Wed 29-Apr-15 11:29:51

Hello, daisy60. Sorry to hear of your problems. I was in a similar situation myself once but that was when I was in my early 30s so the situation was somewhat different to yours. Suffice to say, my first husband and I were divorced and I have been happily remarried for over 30 years now.

Based on my own experience I would say the following:

Get legal advice, especially about finances, both short and long term, and also about pensions - know your rights.

Make sure you have money of your own stashed away to see you through the early days. If your husband does not wish you to leave he may be able to 'freeze' any joint accounts.

Have somewhere of your own to go. Staying with relatives may be a short term solution but divorces take time and you will need your own place. Bear in mind that getting hold of your half of the proceeds of the house may not a) be easy to do (your husband may not want to sell) and b) it could take a while before a buyer comes along.

Don't try and divide your family over this as you may find your children will support their father - there are no guarantees.

Be prepared for your husband to become difficult over custody of your dog! He may not really want it but he may not want you to have it either.

Think carefully about whether you really want to make this change. Is your husband ill? Could that be the reason for his negativity/drinking? Does he have someone else and wishes he was with her? Do you have someone else (sorry) which makes you see your husband in a negative light? Most grans would agree that men have grumpy and negative days as they get older. Could you and your husband agree to lead separate lives but stay together? Perhaps your house could be rearranged so that you each have your own quarters?

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck. Hope this has helped.

ninathenana Wed 29-Apr-15 11:34:57

I have no experience to offer. I just wanted to say if you think you would be happier, be brave and do it.

I wish you all the best flowers

Coolgran65 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:02:31

Your situation rings many bells with me.
My ex dh had a severe personality disorder and was unable to hold down a job. Medication made him wooden/unresponsive/needy and sleep for 20 out of 24 hours. When he was awake he spent most of the time pacing around the house. I did not want to be horrible to him because he was ill, but I was so unhappy. We did not laugh, his views were totally negative. The day he berated my ds because he got 99% in an exam and not 100% was the final straw. After 22 years I decided in a split second... there would be no more.
My nice house was as if it was nothing.
Yes, I was afraid - but I was more afraid of staying.

I got enough from 50% of the sale of the house to buy a terrace house and had £1,000 in an account.

Big bonus, you have the support of your children.
And bear in mind - you cannot make your husband happy.

Once you take a step the rest will follow.
Will your husband leave and live elsewhere while the house would be sold.
Can you rent your own place while the house is sold.... but this is a drain on resources
Can you continue to share the house until it is sold.

I found the hardest part was making the final decision to part. At the moment that I made the decision and then told him - a huge relief came over me. He didn't want it. I sent for his mental health social worker to come and try help him understand that this was for real.

Even after divorce my ex dh believed that I would 'come to my senses'.

Best thing I ever did - and only fear of the unknown had prevented me from doing it sooner.

You are clearly a capable lady and I wish you well whatever you decide.

kittylester Wed 29-Apr-15 12:13:53

I have no experience of this situation either but there will be lots of good advice (already lots to read!) and I just wanted to say 'welcome', keep talking to us if it helps and flowers

Jane10 Wed 29-Apr-15 13:22:08

Gosh brave coolgran! Its so true that sometimes just making the decision is the hard part -after that its a matter of problem solving. I don't have that experience in relation to DH but to other of life's dilemmas. Very good luck to all.

Teetime Wed 29-Apr-15 13:36:06

daisy hello and a big hug for starters. My experience is many years ago when I left my then alcoholic husband after only a few years of marriage and a baby daughter with virtually nothing- it was the right decision . I note you are only 65 and therefore could have another 40 years to enjoy your life. I salute your decision to strike out alone. It wont be easy but I'm sure your family will be of great help and support. I definitely go for custody of the Keep posting here and I'm sure you will get lots of helpful advice and friendship. flowers

vampirequeen Wed 29-Apr-15 13:44:39

Sorry this is happening to you but the time has come to put yourself first. I left with nothing except the debts but it was the best thing I ever did. As advised previously take legal advice regarding money and find somewhere to live before you leave. I love my little terrace house. My home is my safe place.

You have years of freedom and adventures ahead of you.

henetha Wed 29-Apr-15 14:47:10

Complete sympathy for you, Daisy60. I was married for 32 years and made the decision to leave. It's not easy, but we are entitled to consider what is best for the rest of our lives. My husand drank a lot too, so I understand how you feel. I could hardly bear to be in the same room as him sometimes.
It's great that your family are supportive. Now, you need a plan.
Think about the best way to go about it, if you are determined to end your marriage. I started by saving as much money as I could (I had a well paid job then).
It's a long story, but eventually I ended up buying a Park Home because they are so much cheaper than bricks and mortar. It is heaven to be in my own little bit of paradise. It was worth all the trauma.
I do hope you find the strength and courage to chase your dreams.
There can be a whole new life out there somewhere for you. Good luck.

Penstemmon Wed 29-Apr-15 14:54:39

I can just echo the need for being 100% clear about the legal aspects regarding home/finances inc. pensions etc before you proceed.

You may still find Relate counselling helpful (not to stay together but to help you / both to move forward positively)

The most tricky part is often the anticipation before any decision is made.

I wish you what you wish for yourself and lots of virtual support in a difficult time. flowers

seasider Wed 29-Apr-15 23:12:36

0h Daisy I feel for you.My DP suffers from depression and drinks too much. I know how wearing the negativity can be! I would say take a little time to build a up a financial cushion then explore the possibility of renting or staying with a friend while your finances are sorted. It will be scary but you deserve a nice life .

TwiceAsNice Thu 30-Apr-15 00:22:24

Hi Daisy I have been on my own for a bit over a year financial stuff is still not completed but have the decree nisi ( absolute isn't given until finances are sorted) so it is still stressful but I have been happier in the last year than I had been for a long time. I was married for 42 years having married at 19. My husband was controlling and became violent and I took him to court and he was found guilty of assault. My children have been so supportive and don't see their father. My only regret is I didn't do it before they are just very pleased I have done it now and it doesn't help to look back you can't change the past but you can have the future you want. Do look at all you are entitled to and get good legal advice, my first solicitor was dreadful. I am still working at present at nearly 62 so was financially independent when I left but whatever your finances don't stay where you are so unhappy you deserve so much more. Good luck!

pattie Fri 01-May-15 15:51:18

Hi I ended my marriage after twenty years and have never regretted it for one minute.
I was fifty and had bought him out of the house so had a mortgage of fifty thousand and no money.
Twenty five years on I am solvent and have met someone who is making me very happy. Dont despair take the plunge. I am sure it will work out.

vampirequeen Fri 01-May-15 16:00:26

So, Daisy, from the small sample on here who have left long term relationships not one of us has regretted it even though it might have caused financial problems.

I still owe loads of money but it doesn't stress me at all. I made arrangements with all the creditors and unlike I'd expected they were all wonderfully understanding and helpful.

The hardest part is making the decision and leaving. Once you've done that the rest just seems to fall into place.

Eloethan Fri 01-May-15 17:58:58

Daisy Have you told your husband how you feel? If he was willing to try and change - stop drinking, perhaps have counselling to help with the depression, etc. - would that make any difference to how you feel about him? It's just that you say that you still laugh together sometimes and go away together. I just wondered if it is the boring sameness of your lives together that you loathe, rather than your husband.

If you are absolutely certain that there is no way you can revive your marriage, and that you have a fair chance of being much happier on your own, then there are plenty of people on here who have testified to the fact that going it alone can be a very liberating and life-enhancing experience.

I hope it all works out for you - good luck.

Coolgran65 Fri 01-May-15 19:11:50

I agree wholeheartedly with the last sentence of vampirequeen
"""The hardest part is making the decision and leaving. Once you've done that the rest just seems to fall into place."""

Smileless2012 Sun 03-May-15 00:19:10

You've received so much good, sound advice on here Daisy. I have none to offer but do send you my very best wishesflowers.

trisher Sun 03-May-15 18:10:42

I am so impressed with the women who have made the break and found happiness. So much good advice. I got divorced years ago when my children were small and have never remarried. I like my own space. Good luck Daisy whatever you decide to do. You will have a difficult time whilst things are happening but I am sure you will come through and be happier and stronger.

daisy60 Fri 08-May-15 18:53:41

Thank you all for your support and advice. I truly appreciate it.

mishelbuck Fri 17-Jul-15 07:03:46

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kittylester Fri 17-Jul-15 07:12:24