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Ending 20 year marriage

(113 Posts)
Petal49 Tue 26-Feb-19 09:32:20

Hi, my first post here.
I am almost 50, and havent been happy in my marriage for years. We’ve been together for 20 years and if I’m honest with myself I havent really been happy for years now. If I may speak frankly, we’ve been in separate bedrooms for years, no sex at all for the last 4 years. No affection, not much in common any more. I really miss having someone to cuddle with, go on walks with! Without going in to all the details of what is right and wrong with our relationship, for the last few years I have felt like I want to end our marriage, I want the chance to start again on my own, and at least have a chance of maybe meeting someone else and being happy.
But for some reason I keep putting off telling him, I cant bring myself to do it. I told him 4 years ago and he didn’t take it well. We went for counselling, ended up not splitting up and have drifted along like this for these past 4 years.
I don’t want to keep on drifting like this forever, and end up regreting not leaving him, but also cant quite get the courage to tell him. Its silly but every time I hear of couples splitting up I feel envious and wonder how they did it.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like this. My fondest dream at the moment is to be in a little flat on my own with my dogs, but I cant seem to take the first step towards that dream. I would like to hear advice and experience from other women (or men!) who have been through this - how did you get the courage up to have that conversation? Are you glad you left?

midgey Tue 26-Feb-19 09:55:12

I haven’t done it but probably should have twenty years ago. You know what the trainer advert says... Just do it!

wendyonafriday Tue 26-Feb-19 09:56:39

I left my 28 year marriage two years ago. We're just about to start divorce proceedings. My situation was similar to yours: unhappy, unfulfilled, unloved. Sex was functional to say the least. But it was different for me in that I had already met and fallen in love with another man.
I have two grown up daughters and a (then) 13 year old.
Long story short I plucked up courage and told my other half and he left.
It's not been easy but I'm on the other side of the hill you're about to climb . I live with my new guy and youngest daughter and my girls have just about accepted him..(the eldest was the hardest hit). Life is too short, you only live once and all the other cliches. When I was where you are I trawler forums like this for peoples success stories, so I hope I've given you hope.

Urmstongran Tue 26-Feb-19 09:56:46

No help to you whatsoever but you must be very unhappy living so, but with dreams. You’re young enough to forge a happier life if you bite the bullet.
‘Please someone and you displease yourself.’

ariana6 Tue 26-Feb-19 09:56:58

You need to take small steps to achieve your goals. First step, work out your finances to see what's affordable and what isn't. The website entitled to can assist here if you need to claim housing or other benefits.
Once you've the finances sorted, look on Rightmove or in your local estate agents / housing association for rental properties that are affordable. And next, get yourself a really good solicitor to give you advice on what you are entitled to and the procedure for beginning the steps needed to divorce.
It sounds daunting but it really isn't.
You just need a bit of courage and determination to see it through.

Tidusmc Tue 26-Feb-19 09:57:52

Sometimes Petal49 we have to be true to ourselves. If you feel that walking away is the right decision then do it. You cannot be held responsible for how someone else reacts. It won't be easy you have a lot of history together, but staying in a relationship just because is soul destroying for both parties and you will both end up resentful. Sit down and make a list of the pro's and con's for staying and again for going. Sometimes we just need some breathing space. Whatever your decision, at least you know you made it without any pressure. You could end up being better friends separated, who knows. Good luck.

Willow10 Tue 26-Feb-19 09:58:50

Petal, you only have one life. Don't spend the rest of it regretting what you didn't do. It won't be easy, especially if your husband doesn't want it. But make a plan, grit your teeth and go for it - this is the first day of the rest of your life. Keep that little flat in mind as the end goal and stay strong. I wish you the very best for the future. I've been divorced twice and alone for 30 years - I've never regretted my

Missiseff Tue 26-Feb-19 10:00:36

I did it after 19 years, and should have done it a lot sooner! I worried how the kids would be, how I'd manage on my own, but eventually had to do it for the sake of my sanity. The kids understood why, it wasn't easy, my ex made it as difficult as possible and it was a struggle. But I don't regret it, the only thing I regret is not doing it sooner! Do what's best for you. Life's too short.

NannyG123 Tue 26-Feb-19 10:00:42

I think you need to go with your heart petal49.. you are obviously very unhappy in you marriage. Is there
children involved because if there is then there's more to consider then just you own feeling.

alistairric Tue 26-Feb-19 10:00:42

Hi Petal, I left a 25 year marriage 5 years ago. We weren't drifting though, we argued for months, then we would make up for a few months. It was a circle trap we were in but we stayed together for the kids. Not sure if we did the right thing there but splitting up was definitely the right thing in the end. Five years on and we are now good friends but rarely see each other outside of work. (We both work at the local hospital)
It was difficult at first, particularly financially, but life is much better now we are apart.
I know my circumstances are different from yours but I would say take the plunge and go. Start a new life while you can. Go get the flat and be with your dogs. Take a little time to yourself and move forward as and when you feel ready.

Carole28 Tue 26-Feb-19 10:00:43

My marriage ended after 26years. It was very hard to do and at the time I was worried about being on my own and worried about stupid things like coping with a puncture, MOT, little jobs around the house etc - things he had always done. But here I am 10 years down the line, living happily by myself with a boyfriend who stays at weekends and who I go on holiday with and I've coped with whatever life has thrown at me. It is wonderful to have the freedom to be myself. To be honest I was lonely in my marriage and I don't feel lonely now.
It's hard to make the break I agree and a break up is always sad even if you don't get on anymore but it's terrible to be in an unhappy marriage and even though I hate clichés life is too short. There is no easy way to do this. Take care of yourself

Annewilko Tue 26-Feb-19 10:01:54

We all deserve to be happy. It seems like you were emotionally blackmailed into remaining the last time. You can still support someone after a relationship ending, he's had 4 years to come too terms with the idea of splitting. Be honest and be yourself. Good luck x

kazziecookie Tue 26-Feb-19 10:04:53

I am on my third marriage and even though the two break ups I had were very difficult, there is life after divorce and I am now very happy with my third husband (of 20 years).
The thing that was most upsetting about my marriage breakups was that I was left because of affairs with other women (the 2nd time it was a very close friend and they left me to be with them. That meant I was subject to a lot of lies and cruelty.
If there is no love left in your marriage and you have tried counselling then I feel you should call it a day.
Get as much financial advice as you can and try and get things ready such as where you are going to live.
Try to be kind to your husband even though he may take it badly he has given you 20 years of his life.

Blackcat3 Tue 26-Feb-19 10:05:02

Go for it! My ex forced me to admit we were better off on our own, it was tough but we are both way happier now and better as friends than partners. He’s found someone who makes him happy whereas I’m happy on my own with my cats, our kids still think of me as their home....both grown up, one travelling and one at uni. We were lucky to be able to split financially so neither suffered and I was able to keep our house as a base for the kids. It’s not easy by any means I had a real feeling of failure, but to quote another advert...your worth it!

EllanVannin Tue 26-Feb-19 10:05:41

It doesn't sound to me as though you really wish to part company or you'd have done it long before now. The older you get the less likely, or the more difficult it becomes to make that break and as the years go by you start thinking about " being there " should one of you fall ill.

allatsea Tue 26-Feb-19 10:08:43

Hello Petal, Well done for deciding to make a first step and discussing your thoughts here. I don't post much but wanted to share my story briefly as yours resonates so much with mine. I left me husband of 20 years when I was 50. I decided I didn't want to grow old with someone who I seemed to share little with. We went on luxury holidays together but apart from that I felt he was indifferent to me as I was to him. It was a tough choice - we were financially stable and it meant leaving my lovely home to move into a small flat that I could barely afford to rent independently.
Nevertheless it's what I did. He didn't like it and was constantly looking for a reason why I left. The family (grown up) were shocked and I felt as if I had let everyone down with my selfishness.
I went to counselling to work through the issues and found that helped tremendously.
Cutting a very long story short he finally agreed to a financial settlement which just about enabled me to move on and buy a little home of my own. I still felt guilty and didn't push for a 50/50 split which was a decision I felt more comfortable with. I was so excited at the possibilities for my future
My career developed and I had new interests and met new people, made new friends.
I am just about to retire now and in a very warm and caring relationship.
Clearly it's a hard thing to do but I don't regret it. Life is so precious and so short to be spent with someone who at best you may be indifferent to but which gradually changes to contempt.
In terms of where my courage came from? It came from within I guess. I had dreams of what I wanted to achieve which spurred me on.
Am I glad I left? Too Right I am!! I feel like a different person!
It can only be your choice but you only have one life. Good luck xx

Anneeba Tue 26-Feb-19 10:10:18

Hi Petal49, if you're finding it difficult, fearing you will be upsetting your husband, maybe remembering that he only has one shot at life too will help? Treading water in a miserable environment is a waste of both your lives; you both might end up having a second shot at happiness and find fulfilment elsewhere. Go for that flat with your dogs, it sounds a whole lot better than the awfulness of a sterile marriage. Good luck.

lynneg Tue 26-Feb-19 10:11:52

Can’t advise sorry as I’m in exactly the same position but for much longer. What a waste of our lives.

Yorkshiregirl Tue 26-Feb-19 10:13:46

I was in a similar situation years ago, and had walked out several times to stay with family. He was always full of promises of how he would change and persuaded me to return. Nothing changed of course.

Eventually I walked out, and rented somewhere until the divorce settlement was sorted out, and then bought a house of my own cash.

You could arrange to rent somewhere and then just go when he isn't about, which would save any confrontations. Believe me once I had my own place there was no way I was going back.

Good luck it's great being independent x

Jang Tue 26-Feb-19 10:14:09

Gosh! what a very sad unhappy time you are having. I split from my 1st Hubbie after over 28yrs at about your age, not only had we drifted apart he had been unfaithful ( many times).. won't go into that here but I will say it was the best thing I did.... Had support from my kids ....

Spent a few yrs on my own, but am very happily married to the best most lovely man in the world... and sooo Happy! It may be hard to start with as you go down the splitting-up road but you must put yourself 1st. Be strong and Good Luck!

ajanela Tue 26-Feb-19 10:17:15

You went for counselling 4 years ago, that must have taken courage, but nothing seems to have changed. Has he made any effort to rekindle your marriage? Do you do anything together? But maybe you just don’t love him anymore.

As you discussed things in depth 4 years ago he must be aware you are not happy and it must suit him to live with the status quo. So he should not be surprised if you told him you are going to leave. Yes he maybe upset but don’t be emotionally blackmailed into staying as you are unhappy all the time.

As others have said make a plan then go for it. I think in the end you might both be happier.

Startingover61 Tue 26-Feb-19 10:20:32

My almost 30-year marriage ended 3 years ago. My then husband had had a series of affairs and had behaved despicably towards me, yet he was the one who, in the end, walked out. He is now on his third marriage. I divorced him and have been on my own ever since (I'd never married before and don't intend to again). I'm about to move house. Selling our former home has proved extremely stressful, but it's all been so worth it. I no longer have to wonder what he's doing or who he's doing it with behind my back. His new wife can deal with all that - as I'm sure she will have to one day. Not my problem any more. As others have said, you have one life. You deserve to be happy instead of being dragged down. It'll be hard for a good while, but you'll be so much happier in the end. All the best, and let us know how it goes.

JulesR Tue 26-Feb-19 10:21:14

Hi Petal49. If I can just give you some advice with regards to planning what's ahead (I have been divorced twice). If you have a joint bank account you need to sort a one out on your own before you tell your partner. If you go to a solicitor straight away it can cause awful acrimony which was not there before and I think now they ask you to go to mediation first. All very costly and only one winner there. Life is too short you need to think of yourself, you went to counselling and nothing has changed, familiarity is too easy and you lose the years, think of yourself, you have made the decision, be brave. Best of Luck.

megan123 Tue 26-Feb-19 10:23:38

Do it Petal. You only have one life. Good luck.

Gingergirl Tue 26-Feb-19 10:26:49

I don’t think the total reason for not doing this, is because of your husband’s reaction, with all due respect. So...perhaps after taking this first step-take some more-actively look for the sort of flat that you’d like to be in...imagine being there in detail...imagine how you’d cope financially....what each day...and night..would be like on your family will fit into your picture, if you have any. When you really focus on the practicalities of it, it will take you out of the ‘fantasising’ gear and make it more real. If by then, you’re still sure, I think you’ll be able to tell your decision to your husband....we only usually find that hard, when we aren’t so sure ourselves..