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    Hi Helcat

    Many thanks for taking the time to respond, and for your kind words.  Your question on the theme of our arguments once again brings to mind the teenager theme.  We only really argued about his going out with friends, drinking to oblivion and turning his phone off if I tried calling him to see when he’d be home .  He called this controlling and felt he was having to report to me – something I now see as typical teenage behaviour.  I never got invited out and he rarely took me on any ‘dates’.  To me he confused controlling with concern but he doesn’t acknowledge that when I try to explain it to him, so I’ve given up.

    It may sound as if I’m sounding increasingly negative about him.  We did share good times and have similar taste in music, design, TV and food!  I guess we were better suited as friends.  The parent child relationship was never going to work long term which is a shame.  And I’m ok thank you – lots to think about in the near future.  A holiday with the kids (and not the husband!) and a new job to get my teeth into.  I’m sure I’ve got more tears to cry but I know I’ll be ok.

    You’re right though about damage to our kids – our son is having therapy and his relationship with his dad contributes to the need for this (more to do with covid, teenagers, discipline at school).  On the positive side, his dad has agreed to attend a session – maybe more – with him.  I think he (dad) wants to mend things which I’m really happy about, though his way of mending things seems to be to become a friend and not a parent.  He knows he can’t shout any more as he doesn’t live here but hopefully the therapist will emphasize the need for him to be a positive, fatherly role model, not a mate to go to the pub with.

    Our daughter is about to leave for uni and she is very mature.  It helps a bit that she’s studying psychology! I think she will be fine but I’ll keep an eye on her.

    He IS too far away though and I think he knows that, but he won’t move closer – he’s having too much of a good time living next to his workmate/friend.  He’ll miss out in the long run when his children effectively say they owe him nothing but that’s for him to deal with.

    And Anita’s advice and kind words have really boosted my resolve to.  This really is a great place I’ve discovered, just at the right time!


    Hi Anita

    Firstly thank you so SO much for taking the time to read my post and for your detailed response.  There’s a lot in there and I feel reassured (if that’s the right word) that you’ve backed up a lot of my ‘armchair analysis’ of his behaviour.  I feel that coming from a place of understanding the issue is the first step in my journey (I hate that word!) of moving on and this exercise has really helped me.

    I think you are right – this is more a scenario of a teenager leaving home than the classic midlife crisis,, though he ticks a lot of those boxes and is in his late 40s.  But I’m not sure either that he will ever go back to being the ‘old’ him.  He didn’t leave behind a lot of adult responsibility so there’s nothing to return to once the ‘crisis’ is over.  The house and bills are all in my sole name and I can turn my hand to gardening which was always his domain.  Good for the soul.

    Your response has really helped me to frame how I behave towards him now.  I have always been pretty resilient / stoic and have managed to seem outwardly in control, though there have been times when we’ve talked and I’ve become upset.  I say ‘talked’, I’m not sure he’s really listened to me or grasped what I’ve said, and you’re right – perhaps he’s not interested.  He has always lacked empathy, and throughout our marriage it was like I was never allowed to be upset. He just wouldn’t have known what to do.  I will stop all reference to wanting the old him back – that makes good sense.

    We have agreed that we won’t divorce yet – there are things to sort out that will take time and we need to work out finances.  At first he said he wanted nothing from me but of course that was never going to happen.  I think he feels a lot of guilt that I was always the main breadwinner and have paid the mortgage all these years as well as building myself a pension, always with ‘our’ retirement in mind – things I’d gladly have shared with him if we’d stayed together.  He on the other hand is self employed and rarely earned enough even to pay tax.  Now he’s moved he’ll have a more hand-to-mouth existence and it’s only a matter of time before he’ll start thinking more about future finances.  I’m prepared for that.    Meanwhile, there’s at least 3 years until the youngest leaves home for university, if that’s the route he takes, so nothing in our living arrangements will significantly change until then.

    I can now accept the old him has gone and, despite the sadness of the situation, I relish the opportunity of building a new me as well.  There’s a lot of sadness for what has gone before and I am still effectively going through a bereavement but this will pass.  If he comes to a place of regret and a desire to reconcile, the bridge may or may not still be standing and if it is, my side of it will be ten times stronger.

    Anita, you are truly amazing.  Thanks again.

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