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Living together but separated?

(64 Posts)
Debutante Sun 05-Jul-20 15:05:50

I really need to part with my husband for his sake and mine. I’m so unhappy and finding I can’t hide it anymore. I know this lockdown situation hasn’t helped but prior to that we’d made some bad decisions and had a lot of bad things happen and the stress we’ve been through for the last ten years or so has taken its toll. If only it were just that though. We’ve been together 46 years but if I’m honest have been co dependant. We both had difficult childhoods and escaped very dysfunctional families when we married at 19/21. I’ve held it together for our daughters but I’m feeling more and more that I can’t do it anymore. Problem is he’s a good honest hardworking man but something has died in me.I guess I’ve told myself he’s a good honest man with no pretensions and always tried to think the best of him. Trouble is there is no intellectual stimulus for me. I feel I’ve grown but he hasn’t. I hope I don’t sound too bad saying that but it is the truth. It feels incredibly lonely. Also, he is very lazy minded and very unthoughful with little things like Xmas, birthdays and in bed. I think he is wihat you’d call a taker whilst I’m definitely a giver. He actually doesn’t know after all these years what my favourite anything is 🤷‍♀️
We can’t afford to buy individual homes so I wondered if anyone has made it work living seoarately In the same home 😉

shysal Sun 05-Jul-20 15:48:31

I did it for several years. I took over the daughters' bedrooms for living and sleeping, and a sort of timetable developed for bathroom and kitchen. However, I still found my self irritated when he was in the house.
With retirement looming I went to see a solicitor for a free 30minute appointment and found that with everything being split 50/50 we could just afford to sell the family home and buy a small terraced property each.
I should warn you that the husband I had thought was at least an honourable man changed under the influence of a new partner, so I would advise you to make sure all is tied up legally.
Money is tight but I have to say that I love living alone with nobody to answer to, and should have made the move earlier.
Whatever you decide I hope you make the right decision for you.

V3ra Sun 05-Jul-20 16:05:50

Does he feel the same or will this come as a big shock to him?
Have you been for some counselling?
Would that be an idea to start with?

Debutante Sun 05-Jul-20 16:14:40

Thanks for replying shysal .,, I’m glad you found the courage and are happier. Sounds like you might have had very difficult times getting there though. I know for a fact that by selling the house we could not afford to each buy somewhere separately. Also, things went wrong for us financially during the last recession so neither has a pension to speak of other than the state one. I’ve thought about renting, taking out equity release etc but I really want to be able to leave what we’ve spent years building up to our daughters. I hate the banks and don’t want them to get it! I worry about one as she has a kidney desease and struggles with health. This Covid has made her job precarious and I’m wondering whether our children will be able to rely on the NHS in their latter years 😉 I really can’t imagine how it would work living together apart though and imagined the scenario you mention. Problem is I have several spinal fractures and though I seem ok I’m in constant back pain so suitable jobs would be very limited for me due to being uncomfortable sitting or standing for long.

Debutante Sun 05-Jul-20 16:32:32

Thanks for replying V3ra.... not really I’ve let him know how I feel about being taken for granted and unappreciated and how much we’ve grown apart and changed. I’ve asked him to tell me what makes him unhappy about me too so as to encourage and invite him to discuss things. He’s a very bad communicator and just goes quiet and goes and mows the lawn or something mundane like that. We are just not on the same page with the lifestyle we want and I feel I’m going to die with regrets over my life if I don’t try and change it now but I suppose a lot would say it’s too late. I just can’t fake it anymore I’m so very unhappy and alone in the marriage. I’ve had to be quite blunt as he doesn’t take subtle hints about how selfish he is in bed etc. We go for a long time with no sex then he starts paying me compliments so I know he’s getting in the mood again. ImHe makes no effort at all to please me it’s like school boy sex really. He really makes no effort it’s all about him so I’m just not interested. Thing is I know I’d have a great zest for life still with the right love and attention from someone sensitive and thoughtful. I don’t really feel so old that it’s not worth bothering now. It sounds awful but if we could afford to do it I wouldn’t hesitate to leave.

Judy54 Sun 05-Jul-20 16:48:04

Dear Debutante being so unhappy and not able to hide it anymore must be so difficult. It does not sound ideal to continue living in the same house but separately unless you have sufficient room to make it work. It would appear that it may be better for you to go your separate ways. Yes I know finances come into it but do you really want to stay where you are when it makes you so miserable. Do try and get some financial advice to see what may work. A one bedroom flat or renting may be your best option unless you want to live the rest of your life being as unhappy as you are now. Whatever the outcome I send my warmest wishes that you may find the happiness you are seeking.

Hetty58 Sun 05-Jul-20 17:03:33

Debutante, similar questions come up frequently on Gransnet. You can't start a new life by clinging on to the old one - so just leave!

agnurse Sun 05-Jul-20 18:01:29

I cannot speak to how well it worked in practice, but in the past this was very common. Divorce wasn't an option, so couples lived separate lives in the same house. It was known as being "divorced from bed and table".

silverlining48 Sun 05-Jul-20 18:17:25

I know someone who did this, it was awkward because tge house wasnt big but they did this fir a couple if years. In the end the house was sold and they went their separate ways. She is much happier now despite having to watch the pennies. Good luck Debutante.

Spice101 Mon 06-Jul-20 02:16:17

Why are people so insistent on leaving what they have to their children? Of course we want to leave as much as we can to our children and by all means do so but do not hamper your life and happiness while you have that asset to draw on.
When the time comes your children will inherit what you have left but in the meanwhile you will have had the opportunity to make your life as good as it can be for you.

I would find it very difficult to live in the same house as someone I didn't want to be with unless it could be converted into 2 totally independent residences and you had no shared facility.

Could you speak to a solicitor to see what your financial options are?

EilaRose Mon 06-Jul-20 07:36:29

Debutante my grandparents lived separately in the same house for many, many years and it was horrible to say the least, although at the time I didn't realise how difficult mainly because I don't ever remember them living together.

The tension was the worst and because they wouldn't speak to each other or be in the same room together, the grandchildren (during visits) would be asked to be the messenger between them.

As horrible as it was, they both showered us with lots of love, cuddles etc and made sure we knew they each loved us heaps, but when I think back (as an adult) their lives must have been pure hell trying to keep up the facade. Anyone outside the family 'thought' they were still together.

So from my experience I would suggest a total separation. I also agree with Spice101 in relation to kids inheritance, it's a gift not a right and if there's a gift for them at the end of your life, so be it but in the meantime you need to look after yourself.

All the best ;-)

sarahanew Mon 06-Jul-20 10:02:09

There's no point in staying together if it's just not working anymore. Lockdown has made us all realise who's important in our lives and who's not. It's brought our feelings and emotions to the forefront. You only have one life and you have to do what you feel is right for you

Nelly18 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:05:22

I think you should put yourself first but, I would recommend counselling. Sometimes hearing it from someone else has a greater effect.

Ngaio1 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:08:36

Debutante. I really feel for you. My only advice is to make sure you have everything tied up financially. I trusted my ex too much and lost beautiful furniture and money because i believed everything he said. Too late for me but harden your heart!

TanaMa Mon 06-Jul-20 10:09:38

Ican never understand the idea that we have to go without, be unhappy, or whatever the circumstances, so as to leave what we have obtained through our hard work to our children! I love my family but do not feel I have to subsidise their lives once they become independent. Life is for living and hopefully I can carry on and do that. In the case of Debutante I would say a complete break would be for the best, especially for her mental health.

Taliya Mon 06-Jul-20 10:10:13

I think you just need to be honest and have a good chat with him. He probably knows things are not good between you so I don't think it would come as a shock if you said you wanted to seperate, but I think you would find it difficult separating but still living in the same house, for you and him. I know it might be difficult to relocate to a cheaper area but if you moved to a cheaper area in the UK you may be able to afford a house or flat each? It's difficult if you rely on your husband financially and your health isn't that good but there is help via the DWP if you cannot work due to ill health if you separated from your husband. Life is too short to stay in an unhappy situation.

Jeannie59 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:11:41

I am with my 80 year old husband
I am 64. We have been together 25 years and married 22 this month.
I haven't loved him for around 15 years. When I came back from Australia end December after visiting my DD I put the house up for sale and told him I didnt love him.
Then lockdown came and I took the house off the market, I actually felt bad leaving an 80 year old man
We have had separate rooms and have had for 5 years, I just dont love him in a romantic or sexual way
We still have a mortgage on our house.
I get my pension at 66 and have a private pension
He is our main provider atm
He really is a lovely gentle and caring man
But I just dont love him

mrsnonsmoker Mon 06-Jul-20 10:16:12

I think its natural for people who haven't been in this position to suggest counselling, but I am sure the OP has done everything possible and knows her own mind after all these years. I am in a similar position; I have had financial advice and been told I am entitled to more than half of the proceeds of the house sale, but that would leave my H with very little. Whereas if we split 50:50, neither of us could afford much - he also has a larger pension. Its a mess, well it will be after 30-40 years. As @Hetty58 says upthread, there are lots of couples in the same position both on here and Mumsnet.

They reckon its going to end up with a lot of single households in poverty, but I know what I would prefer. Getting back to practicalities, I've looked at things like Older Persons Shared Ownership, or applying to almshouses or charitable housing associations - that might work for you OP? Is there a cheaper area? If you go into a rented place or even if you buy a flat dont forget to factor in rent/ground rent on a state pension. The other thing I'd considered was women only co-operatives - its going to take a lot of digging.

But yes I agree with posters overall, living in the house together would be very stressful.

jaylucy Mon 06-Jul-20 10:17:22

See a solicitor.
You say that you both came from dysfunctional families so are you truly surprised about the way that he reacts when you have a go at him and point out his failings? I very much doubt if either of you learnt how to deal with emotional things.
I think that most of us have fallen in the trap of believing the stories built by books and media that just because we have lived with someone for years, it automatically means they know every single thing about each other. Sorry, but mens brains work differently from womens - what we see as important they don't really bother about !
After seeing the solicitor, you will need to sit down with your husband and tell him exactly what you have written here - if it is with a counselor present all well and good. The time has come to stop worrying about anyone else and make plans to move on to a new hopefully happier life for the both of you.
Citizens advice will also be able to provide you with a fair bit of information about where to go for help and support as well as any benefits that you are entitled to.

Lclaytonuk555 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:19:03

I lived separately for two years in the same house as my husband. We were already living separate lives really. It wasn’t easy, sometimes unpleasant and I wouldn’t want to go through it again.
Somehow I got the courage to leave and haven’t looked back.
I hope you can make things work for you whatever you decide.

mrsnonsmoker Mon 06-Jul-20 10:19:51

@Jeannie59 your situation does sound more tolerable though? And you have a good degree of independence, with a caring man. Under those circumstances, I think sharing the house whilst living more or less separate lives would still work for many more people.

Jaycee5 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:20:35

I think that I would have a look at renting. You can't live an unhappy life for the sake of a future inheritance. My mother did that until I gave her a firm talking to and even though she was quite old when she sold her house the proceeds all went into care in her later years. She said that she had made plans on the assumption that she would live into her 80s but she is now 94 and mainly living on a state pension which is not good in Canada. She won't accept any money from us which is frustrating.
You can't put your present on hold for what you assume might happen in the future. You can do things like fight for the NHS but how many years of happiness are you prepared to sacrifice? State pensions are not too bad if you don't start off with debts. Make sure that you get everything available like housing benefit and council tax benefit.
There are advantages to renting, like not having to carry out repairs, as long as you have a decent Landlord. There are some areas where it is still not too difficult to get Council housing and it is worth looking into that.
I think most people by the time they get to retirement age have spent quite a bit of their lives sticking with things, like a job or friendship, that made them unhappy, longer than they should have for reasons that seemed to make sense at the time.

Coconut Mon 06-Jul-20 10:23:11

Life is just far too short to be unhappy. I too stayed in my 2nd marriage far too long for various reasons, and when I finally made the decision to go, I never looked back. My only regret was not doing it sooner and the inner peace I’ve had ever since has been so worth it. Where there’s a will there’s a way .....Good luck

fuseta Mon 06-Jul-20 10:25:59

I hung on in an unhappy marriage for 23 years and in the end, finances didn't matter to me, so in my late forties I moved my children and myself to another town, where I had a couple of friends and for a while I lived in a rented house, which was paid for by housing benefit. Whilst on benefits I went back to college and did a computer course and a business studies course and eventually I found a very good job and after a couple of years I met my second husband. We have been married 21 years this year and have managed to buy a nice little terraced house. We are very happy and everything worked out well, but it was taking a chance that released me and being prepared to live on benefits for the rest ofmy life if necessary. Take the chance and good things will happen. Life is too short. One of my favourite sayings is : Don't waste another moment on another wasted moment: !!

wildswan16 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:26:47

I think what you are looking for is "peace". Peace for your mind and soul - not having that tense, annoyed feeling all the time. I'm afraid the only way is to not have to live with it on a daily basis.

Housing will be your major stumbling block - and you must seek legal advice on that. I am sure your children would say that you must use any money you have for your own comfort as you get older - they will manage to look after themselves as we all have.

You might need to be prepared to live somewhere very different to what you are used to - but that might be outweighed by your emotional uplifting.