Mom Worries She's 'Selfish' For Wanting To Leave 15-Year Relationship 'Just Because She's Not Happy'

While all partnerships have ups and downs, people deserve a baseline of happiness in their relationship.

man and woman sitting back to back on bed Alex Green / Pexels

A mom wrote into the English parenting forum Mumsnet, questioning if it would be wrong to leave her partner because she’s dissatisfied with how their relationship has evolved.

She explained that she’s been with her partner for the past 15 years; they met as teenagers and now have three kids under the age of 10. They’re not married, as she reported, “he changed his mind” about doing so.

The mom worried that wanting to leave her 15-year relationship means she’s ‘selfish,’ despite not being happy.

“I haven’t been happy for many years but thought perhaps that’s just normal in long term relationships,” the mom stated. As her kids grow older, she’s begun to “fear what [her] life will be when they’ve left home.”


She offered multiple examples of ways she and her husband essentially live separate lives under the same roof. She explained that she and her partner haven’t shared a bed since their oldest child was little, “as they kept getting in and he decided to decamp to the sofa bed. He’s been there ever since.”

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“I like to be social but he doesn’t like if I’m not home — he has no friends or hobbies,” she said. Yet even when she stays home, “by the time I get the kids settled and have a shower he is already asleep on the sofa or watching a film or series without me. If I try to have a conversation with him, he will pause the TV and wait for me to finish, answer with a single word and unpause.”


She explained further that “as the living room is effectively his bedroom, I’m not allowed to do anything in there in the evening.”


The two of them split the bills, but she said that he doesn’t buy anything for the house or kids: “I don’t know what he does with his money.”


She reported that her partner complains about their lack of sex life, yet she asked, “How is it supposed to happen when I feel like I’m not even welcome or liked by him?”

The mom feels like she’s at a ‘breaking point’ and is unsure if their relationship is salvageable.

She and her partner don’t argue, although she readily admits that they “barely speak to each other.”

“I feel like I would be happier on my own, at least I’d have use of the TV and living room for an evening,” she said. She acknowledged that their lives are "very intertwined" because of how long they’ve been together, and wondered if there was a possibility their relationship would improve after the stresses of having young kids wanes.

“I just don’t know if it is selfish to leave him and disrupt everything just because I’m scared of how things will be in 10 years,” she stated. “However, I am also anxious [that] the children are growing up thinking this is normal and I really don’t think it is.”


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Most of the comments urged the mom to prioritize her happiness and leave the partnership that left her feeling isolated and unloved.

One person summed up the issue succinctly, saying, “You don’t need any reason to leave... If you stay and nothing changes, then you are definitely wasting your one chance at a happy life... Have a life, not an existence.”

Photo: Liza Summer / Pexels


Another woman advised the mom not to stay in an unhappy partnership just for the sake of her children. She explained that her own parents did so, and she was acutely aware that they didn’t love each other.

They split up when she was 13, and she “then saw both of them in new relationships where they loved [and] were loved… I didn't really understand what love was, probably don't fully understand what it really is now until I saw them in actual relationships that they enjoyed.”

The mom came to the comments to thank the Mumsnet community for their guidance and encouragement. She said, “I guess that’s hit the nail on the head that I don’t feel loved — feel kind of worthless and invisible.”


This mom’s predicament resonated with many other women commenting on the thread. While women are often told that taking care of their emotional needs makes them selfish, the reality is that people deserve to be in relationships that nourish them.

Not being happy is an entirely valid reason to end a partnership that no longer serves you — full stop. The mom makes it clear that she wants to model actionable, accountable love to her kids, and that love must start with the love she gives herself.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.