Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about this overwhelmingly sad and frustrating situation.
Based on your story, I can tell you with certainty that each one of you need and deserve healthy and fulfilling lives, and for this to happen you and your husband need to take full responsibility for your own choices, feelings and actions.
It is obvious you are not happy at all in your marriage, that it has become this dysfunctional and that perpetuating it would not help anybody, including your children, because there is no way to make them immune to the marital dysfunction and the lack of personal stability and fulfillment, they literally depend on the psychological and emotional climate you and your husband create at home.
i feel like i can usually keep it together in front of them
Reality, experience teach us how children do much better being raised by one parent or separated-divorces but healthy and caring parents, than with both parents under the same roof but with a very dysfunctional relationship,
that makes sense
Children are literally shaped in their personalities, minds and heart by what they see, feel and experience, whether directly or indirectly at their homes. Parents could try to hide their marital issues thinking they are doing a good job protecting their children, but reality does not work that way, since they do feel and know, and their lives continue to depend on what you feel, think and do. This is why it is essential to set the right priorities, setting your own happiness in that list for sure, and then working responsibly to make necessary changes.
i don't know how to
i'm worried they won't understand and will hate me
You cannot and should not try to take responsibility or control what him or any other person may think or feel about you, that would be unhealthy, hopeless and very codependent, would not help any of you, including your children.
there is going to be so much pain all around - it's hard to face
Focus on loving and supporting your children, and not on pleasing anybody's ego, because of you do, even when well intended, you would end fueling illusions while neglecting the real person who needs your love and support, who needs to learn from you how to be healthy, respectful, good and supportive, gentle and compassionate with him-herself,
Focus on what you can and should control, do your best, XXXXX XXXXX you can be sure you would be consistent respecting, loving and supporting yourself and children as you need and deserve. I think the last thing you want is to promote distorted personalities and approach to life, to themselves and others in your children's lives.
then please reflect on this and take consistent action, ideally counting with the support of individual psychotherapy or counseling, since this is not easy to cope with at all, and every help you may need would be worthy.
i feel like a failure
You are a human being, vulnerable and not perfect, not a failure, otherwise we all would be failures, but that's not the case.
You would be a failure if you self-sabotage and perpetuate something that goes against yourself and against your children's health and well-being.
Then please be consistent taking really good care of yourself, for you to be able to take good care of them as much as you long to.
is family therapy/ couples therapy the thing to do or can i just opt out and file the paper work - i don't know how any of this gets done ??
I do suggest you to first consider individual psychotherapy for you to work on yourself. Marriage counseling would be ideal for you and your spouse to work as responsible adult during this process, to make it work for you and your children as good as possible. Then family therapy would be very beneficial for your children to adjust to the changes without suffering from it. All supported by competent therapists.
At the same time, on the other hand, you need top get a good attorney who would support you with the legal part of this process. The family and children court do also provide information and guidance of how this work. You need both, psychological-counseling and legal support.
okay thanks i think
You're very welcome. Thank you for being this honest here, for trusting me.
Please feel free to contact me for any further assistance since i am willing to follow up and support you as possible.
how do i do that?
You can just post your questions here making sure you add my name, requesting "Rafael" to answer.
okay- does this site keep all this stuff? can i access it later?
Please remember, on justanswer.com, your information is NOT confidential, but is public. But there is a new program, pearl.etherapi.com, where we can speak confidentially, over a secure network. There I could offer professional an d confidential counseling support in case you want to consider it and feel comfortable with my support. https://pearl.etherapi.com/connectme/164
You're very welcome. Thank you. Please take gentle care and consistent action and feel free to contact me as needed.