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What should I do now?

(33 Posts)
Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 11:49:00

Myself and Dh have always had a volatile relationship. Both of us can be verbally abusive and it has crossed the line twice to shoving and pushing. We are both quite reactive and both quite sensitive so arguments can flare up out of nowhere and go from 0-60 in a very short time. We are together 15 years and married 8. We have 5 kids between us. We have a good homelife, both work, dont drink or smoke or have any outside influences that are impacting negatively on our marriage.

We had a row over 2 weeks ago. It was a big one. Dhs behavior escalated. I didnt feel safe. He has been staying with a friend for the last 2 weeks.

We cooled down and spoke a couple of days after. I told him my bottom line was that I didnt want us living together until he could promise me that he would walk away from an argument. We made up and have been spending time together, with kids, have had sex etc.. but he has not stayed the night in our home.

We have had 5 or 6 sessions of couples counselling but I do not see how things have changed in the relationship since. I feel he is not accepting responsibility for his temper and anger and that he is taking it out on me and not in proportion to what I deserve.

I thought we had agreed to him staying until he could manage his anger but last night he said he couldnt live that way. That he either moved back in or we split up.

THis is not what I want but I don't want to go back to the way things were and so what do I do?

Dahlen Mon 30-Sep-13 11:53:42

I'd call his bluff and tell him we split up. That sort of ultimatum from him after only 2 weeks is classic controlling, bullying behaviour.

I know it's a lot easier for me to write that than it is for you to do.

foolonthehill Mon 30-Sep-13 11:57:09

It has been said very many times...you cannot change someone else, you can only change yourself and/or your situation.

Sometimes the other person will see enough reason to change, sometimes they won't. That is out of your hands.

Do you feel that it is both of you that need to change (as per your 1st para) or that really it is him?

You yourself could look at anger management if "reactivity" is a problem, you too could walk away from an argument, you can draw up "rules of engagement" but it is up to both of you to keep to them.

foolonthehill Mon 30-Sep-13 11:58:41

If you or your partner or both can't keep within safe boundaries then you have to walk away don't you?

AnyFucker Mon 30-Sep-13 12:02:13

Couples counselling is not the correct path for this situation

Neither of you are giving your kids a good example of how to resolve problems within a relationship. They will grow up copying your aggressive and abusive examples.

Now your male partner has crossed yet another line (after you have both been crossing them for years) it's time to call it a day.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 12:11:34

Agreed. If you either of you can't behave in a safe way then you can't live together can you? What's the alternative? That one of you is a threat to the safety and happiness of the other and the children?

Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 12:11:41

Yes both of us need to change but I tend to walk away or I usually end up feeling that I need to leave our home. I flare up but I cool down very quick and find it very hard to hold on to anger or bad feeling. I always feel during the argument that I am tryin to sort things out, trying to fix it, trying to get it back ok. I feel that he gets consumed by anger, very self righteous, justified anger and that I can go from being his lover and best friend to his enemy in a very short space of time. When he is angry I cant get through to him, I cant reach him. So I have asked him to put me before his anger, to leave the house when he feels it rising and not to come back until he can manage it. The arguments are never over anything of importance. They are a power struggle, for what I am not sure.

Since he has left I can see a little more clearly where I might have triggered strong responses in certain instances for example we have a 4 year old ds who has alot of behavioural issues. He has been assessed and part of the assessment report recommended using positive reinforcement. I had a tough day with ds one friday and I found I was being very negative with him ie telling him to stop doing things, threatening to take things of him if he didnt behave etc... I was feeling bad about the way I was interacting with him but the next day when dh was dealing with him and was giving out to him and threatening to put his toy in the bin if he didnt listen I got annoyed with dh and started citing the report, but really I was annoyed with myself and transferred that on to him.

Thats why I think this break is a good thing for us in that it will allow me get a better perspective on what I need to do and what I need to change about our dynamic. I have explained this to him in detail. I have told him that I want to keep our wedding vows and use the time to strenghten our relationship.

I think he thought I would weaken after a week or 2 and ask him to move back in but I am not going back into that space as i know it is not good for any of us but I dont want to break up our marriage either.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 12:12:25

In fact, why do you think he won't commit to making the effort to keep you and the children safe?

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 12:14:31

I am not going back into that space as i know it is not good for any of us

Good, you have a responsibility to keeping you and the children safe.

but I dont want to break up our marriage either.

You aren't.

AnyFucker Mon 30-Sep-13 12:14:43

Had you considered that your 4yo's behavioural issues may well ease greatly when he isn't living in a war zone ?

Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 12:16:21

When we explained the problems we were having the counsellor thought we were right for couples counselling. She said it was obvious that there was a lot of love and chemistry between us. Obviously there is a destructive cycle in our relationship but surely that is something that can be worked on and changed

Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 12:21:17

Of course I have considered that. He has a diagnosis of adhd with odd. I dont think it's of the ground he licked it either.

I guess I dont understand why we have that element to our relationship I dont understand what I can do to fix my part in it so that is why I have asked him to leave.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 30-Sep-13 12:22:28

You could find you're the type of people that are simply bad for each other and that, if you were with someone else (either of you), you wouldn't react anything like the same way. There are people in my life that, for whatever reason, can wind me up in the space of five minutes. Wouldn't want to live with one of them.

Agree that your child is probably taking a cue from the behaviour he sees around him.

Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 12:24:02

Vivacia he just sees it as a shit part to our relationship. That you take the highs with the lows

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 12:36:22

Wow. So he thinks that aggression and danger is a normal part of family life?

Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 12:45:12

Its not quite that bad Vivacia. We had the row a few weeks ago and the last time we had a big row was when we went away for a weekend last December. We do argue a bit but it doesnt normally get out of hand. I have been attending a counsellor on my own for the last year and am finding that helpful. We agreed on the couples counselling after that row and he agreed to see a counsellor himself which he did but which he found difficult to engage with.

peggyundercrackers Mon 30-Sep-13 12:47:56

you say the arguments are never over anything important - why are you both arguing over these things if they are not important? After 15 yearsi would hope you both know enough about each other to know what winds the other up - why not just avoid doing this? its normally what adults do...

you also say you dont want to live with him unless he walks away from an argument - why cant you walk away?

sounds like you both need to grow the fuck up and deal with these issues rather than fighting like kids in a playground

ofmiceandmen Mon 30-Sep-13 13:28:40

Something else is going on here - beneath the surface

Resentment has built up and unless you both address it - I can't see a way this will end unless the underlying issues are dealt with.

Has his head been turned? was yours at some point? do you blame each other for the DC's behavioural issues - obviously not being there an external person can only speculate.

What change do you want to see and does he understand what you expect of him and vice versa.

I am of the rather odd opinion that the mind is the only danger to a relationship. If you want in you will make it work and you will be happy - assuming both parties want in, in equal measures.

So someone wants out here - the question is why or what do they want in into.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 13:58:54

Its not quite that bad Vivacia.

So why do you want him to take responsibility for not doing it?

Neitheronethingortheother Mon 30-Sep-13 14:28:20

He just text me there to see if I wanted to meet for lunch which i did. I told him i was unsure of what we where we had left it last night. He said he was happy to continue as we were for the time being, just he was frustrated with where he was staying. I dont think there is someone else in fact I am sure there isn't. We are both very attracted to each other and have a healthy sex life. There are no problems in that regard.

I am not sure about blame in relation to ds's behavioral issues but definitely some understanding on my parts as to why dh is the way he is. Both him and ds are quite similar personality wise. I always say dh is on a different page to everyone else. He is always the person off doing his own thing. I am more conformist in later years.

Myself and dh were both difficult children and difficult teens. I think we are quite similar in some ways which means we find it hard to nurture each other as its like we are both missing the same bits.

I am the one walking away from the arguments atm but I cool down so quick that I am happy to make up straight away and get on with it. It takes him much longer so there is an atmosphere in the house until he calms down and so I tend to remove myself from the house until I can make contact with him. It would make more sense for him to walk away as he is the one who gets consumed by his anger once he gets annoyed. Once he is calm then things are ok.

I tend to get things of my chest there and then and then move on. He tends to avoid things but obviously there is an undercurrent and I usually want to find out what the problem is. Instead of owning how he is feeling he will blame me for something I may or may not have done so I get defensive and the cycle escalates. If he said he was feeling sad/lonely/upset then I would have emapthy for him but he tends to overexagerate what he perceives me to have done wrong so as to justify how he is feeling.

peggyundercrackers Mon 30-Sep-13 17:34:33

neither - although you get things off your chest and move on quickly not everyone is like that, nor can they be however it does sound like he has anger issues which he maybe doesnt know how to deal with.

You obviously recognise there is a pattern but dont seem willing to break it. Sorry it seems like I am concentrating on your behaviour but given the info you have provided i cant comment on his behaviour as I dont know if he recognises it the same as you do.

I know when i am in a situation whereby some blames me for something i tend to just say whatever and move on instead of labouring the point and standing my ground - no point getting into a heated discussion as ive normally got better things to be worrying about or getting on with - in the big scheme of things who cares - whats happened has happend so what - its not important... IMO getting defensive is aking to children and the old he said/she said routine when they are bickering. As i said previously i think you both need to grow up and act accordingly as its not healthy.

Neitheronethingortheother Tue 01-Oct-13 09:23:33

Its not that I am not willing to break it I dont know how to break it. I guess I find it hard to determine which shit is mine and which shit is his. How to people manage to afford to split up. friend dh is staying with says he will charge him €100 p/w rent. I dont think we can afford that on top of our existing expenses.

I guess when I am blamed in the wrong I feel it diminishes me and that I need to defend myself. In fact I hate being blamed in the wrong, bring called a liar or being told I said something that I know I didnt. I always get very defensive in those instances. I would much rather sit down and work through a problem rather than everything being deflected, denied, and have all sorts of distractions thrown at me. I know what I want to get out of the conversation or discussion but it could take 2 hours of emtional wrangling to get there and so I am wrecked by the end of it.

cjel Tue 01-Oct-13 10:19:35

I'd not see him or sleep with him until you are sure what you want form your life.
You both sound very emotionally immature and if you continue with the counselling and he refuses to engage with his, nothing is going to change.
At the moment you sound as if you are playing at this relationship which is a nightmare for your dcs.
Every time someone says something you don't like you are saying 'its not that bad'!!
Yes it is ! bickering like this so you need to stay somewhere else is bad and not a good relationship - although I expect you'll tell me otherwisesmile

foolonthehill Tue 01-Oct-13 14:56:45

From your post:
1) when you are wrongly blamed you feel aggrieved and defend yourself...does he often try to shift the blame onto you?
2) You don't like being called a liar...does he often call you names or demean you?
3) Deflection, denial and distraction...all from him so you can't deal with an issue?
4) You drive the conversation to the end point...but does he ever take responsibility for making the mature choice or discussion?
5) He holds onto his anger and resentment and stays in the stressful environment...you walk away and cool down.

If these are his behaviours (as described in your posts) then you have a big problem because whatever you do with yourself, unless he addresses his issues you are not going to get anywhere. You will still be in an unhealthy relationship.

You can't row a straight course with one oar..neither can you have a healthy relationship with only one of you trying.

Neitheronethingortheother Wed 02-Oct-13 10:48:03

Only when we are in the middle of a row does he do those things. In the normal day to day things he is fine. Its when he gets angry or when I want to talk about certain things that he uses those tactics. I usually persevere though and we end up getting to the core of the issue but it could take 2 hours and I am exhausted afterwards. I dont understand whats in it for him to continue this way.

Cjel what do you mean by playing at this relationship? could you explain that to me a bit more please?

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