Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How much of Relate do you discuss between sessions?

(68 Posts)
overthehillandroundthemountain Thu 26-May-16 08:29:02

My DH and I have been to Relate a few times now. We had our last session on Mon 16th and because of holidays, BH etc. our next session is on June 6th.

My concern is that we don't talk about anything from the sessions in between. We don't talk at all, still continuing with pretty separate lives.

When we started, he recognised that I am at Relate with a view to separating whereas he is there to save the marriage. Consequently, he has made a few changes to our home routine, but they are the tip of the iceberg and for me, separation is still preferable.

He doesn't bring this up at all. We simply don't talk. I suppose by not talking, it stays in our heads and is not validated.

Is this normal? I have tried to instigate conversation about 4 or 5 nights now but the words don't come to me.

I suspect he sees it as - he is making the effort, he has made changes, all must be ok again. I see it as too little, too late, and I've moved on to visualising a future without him.

Is anyone else at this bottleneck stage? How did you ease through it?

overthehillandroundthemountain Thu 26-May-16 17:56:27

Just bumping my own post to see if anyone else discussed their Relate sessions with their partner. Sorry if this is a boring post!

Oddsocksgalore Thu 26-May-16 18:23:52

Why don't you just tell him no point in relate if your not going to continue your marriage. Can't be nice for either of you living in limbo.

Julju Thu 26-May-16 18:47:51

We might not talk about the session one week, but the next week we could reference it daily - it all seems to depend on what sort of week we're having.

Thinking about it, we'll always have a quick debrief in the car afterwards - just a "how was it for you?" Chat on the drive home. Maybe you could instigate that next time?

Or could you bring it up in the session if you'd feel more comfortable doing it with your counsellor there?

overthehillandroundthemountain Thu 26-May-16 22:44:37

Thank you both for replies, hugely helpful.

Oddsocksgalore Relate is helping me to form a script and for us to air what's wrong. He wants to save the marriage, I think the sessions will be helpful for him to see that the marriage has broken down beyond that. Yes, it's horrid being in limbo.

Julju Thank you for sharing. Interesting that you do reference it. We just don't talk about them at all. We have a sort of debrief, but mostly it is quite awkward...hmm

Yes, I think I might bring it up in the session, that I feel we are in limbo precisely because we don't talk about the sessions. I want to move faster.

Thank you!

cherrypepsimax Thu 26-May-16 23:08:09

How many sessions have you had? The first couple of times we didn't talk about it at all because we were worried about It starting an argument but after a few sessions we did arrange to talk before the next session. It was a bit clumsy to begin with but it soon became much easier, and nothing to worry about. I think we both wanted to work things out, even if we were not sure we could. In your situation I wonder if your Dh is avoiding it because he's worried about facing up to the fact it could be over?

overthehillandroundthemountain Thu 26-May-16 23:17:30

Hi Cherry

Yes, I very much think it is the case that he's not talking because he's worried about confronting separation. He must be able to see that there is no way forwards: no sex, no physical bond, no affection. He is trying but it is too late to make amends, and we are living lives that are more separate than ever. We have had one session each alone and 2 together. The arguments have stopped but also there is no resolution.

Maybe it needs more time. He is at a different stage to where I am. I want to press forwards with separation, beginning a new life, etc. He is not there yet.

cherrypepsimax Fri 27-May-16 03:27:30

We were set homework almost and had little tasks to do in between sessions. We got in to the routine of arranging what day we would have a catch up in the car on the way home, which sounds ridiculous, but it did work.
Could you bring this up in your next session? He might find it easier to discuss why he's not keen to do it with the councellor?

Sorry that you are in this situation. Hope the counselling makes it easier for you both.

overthehillandroundthemountain Fri 27-May-16 07:52:56

Thank you, cherrypepsimax I will bring it up in the next session. I think he is gradually getting up to my stage in the separation - booking in things to do by himself, taking the DCs away by himself...

I will ask for homework as we have not had any exercises/tasks. He has tried to get closer (in bed - like just physically, not sexual) but I have been firm about staying separate. I need to press on.

Arghh. Thank you for helping me work it out. Hope it worked for you.

cherrypepsimax Fri 27-May-16 09:44:12

It did, it was a few years ago now, my Dh has mh problems which doesn't make talking easy for him, but we've managed to keep on track. Hope you manage to work out an amicable split.

diege Fri 27-May-16 13:53:00

Overthehill I am exactly where you are. Agreed to a Relate session so he could hear,me articulate that its over for me, and I want to focus on post -separation scenarios. As the counsellor said, we are clearly at different ends of the spectrum. He thinks we can get over a bad patch, for me things are over. She has suggested separate sessions now, for me to be absolutely clear, for him to start realising that it can't be repaired. We've only had one session so far then he has been away with work til tonight. I don't anticipate much of a debriefing as he is extremely low about the whole thing and is assuming head in the sand mode. I also have to tread carefully as he has been very controlling I the past and I'm aware the sessions reflecting this dynamic.

overthehillandroundthemountain Sat 28-May-16 17:32:06

Glad you kept it all on track Cherry thanks for sharing.

Diege Good to hear your experiences, sorry you're going through similar. Yes, same as mine. We will enter separate sessions soon, which may well help more. Mine is head in sand but also doing more things by himself, as am I, so maybe he is accepting it more. Me too, being careful.

Good luck. Keep in touch. Would love to hear how you progress. Hope all ok and wish you all the best.

diege Sat 28-May-16 18:28:18

We're also doing separate things, hopefully he's starting to accept it. Until he does any practical discussions about living arrangements etc are going to be meaningless. Hope you're ok, and yes will keep updating flowers

overthehillandroundthemountain Sat 28-May-16 22:56:57

Yes, exactly how I feel - no point making practical arrangements until he accepts it. Maybe by the next session we will be closer to this. I wonder if the therapist knew, and that was why she said in a few sessions' time to take things separately...

You too, hope you are bearing up ok in Limbo-land! I spoke to my DCs' head at school as wanted it noted and they also said - you're in limbo. Yup!

flowers Wish you luck.

diege Sun 29-May-16 08:46:00

Sounds like we're in very similar situations! Going to wait til after dhs session on Wednesday and then (if he discloses anything) try and judge where to go next. Limbo is indeed a good way of describing it, but we (you and I) are so much further on than pre-conversation. Apologies if you've said before, but how long ago was it since you had The Conversation? Its been just over 2 weeks here (feels longer).
Happy to pm if you want to chat off thread and will also keep posting here x

overthehillandroundthemountain Mon 30-May-16 18:37:03

Hello! Currently away without him - trying to model a structure for The New Life. Very similar situation. Our talk was at the start of May but had various discussions in October and then in January. Argh!

Have you read Conscious Uncoupling? Seems to be what I have been striving for...

Will keep you updated, you too. Happy to chat on here! X

chakachumchom Mon 30-May-16 19:37:12

DH and I have a 'therapy' session once a week but on our own, we schedule it in because DH doesn't talk. But it's made talking in between even more difficult as my DH think that the 1 hour talk we have per week is enough... if anything it's probably made our communication worse!

I'm now considering Relate but it seems expensive. How much do you pay per session?

overthehillandroundthemountain Thu 02-Jun-16 19:36:23

Hi Chaka,
Good idea to try to carve out your own time and schedule your own sessions. Could you make them longer, so your DH talks more? Or could you encourage him to go for twice a week?
I'd love to do the same but we need someone to adjudicate, as he talks over me, and sways the conversation too much.
It is pretty costly - anything between £40 and £60, I think, although they are willing to consider contributions according to your income.

diege Thu 02-Jun-16 21:54:41

Well dh had his session last night and (when I asked him) it seemed to focus on what 'went wrong', how he reacted, what he did etc etc, but still no acceptance that we need to be focusing on where we go from here in terms of separation. I think he's imagining this as a very slow process, thinking of the sessions as a chance for him to understand the relationship and see what went wrong, whereas I see them as an opportunity to state in front of a third person that it's over and to focus on the future. I do feel a bitch saying this in front of a stranger but then I remember how controlling he's been and that I have to be brave and push on through all the horrendous stuff. I have a horrible feeling that he's going to coast like this for months though...
I'm going for a session on my own but its nit for weeks. The limbo is incredibly hard to live with. I think I may book in for the free half hour session with the solicitor soon as I'm aware separation is something that needs to be recorded (I think?) if it's going to progress to divorce. Eek!!
flowers and cake for all.

overthehillandroundthemountain Fri 03-Jun-16 05:09:20

Hello Diege,
Thanks for the update. Interesting that his focus was what went wrong - that suggests to me some progress, at least, of heading in the direction of separation, no? It sounds very frustrating, and slow (like mine) but at least you are heading in the right place.

A friend of mine said to be firm. Go into the session and say "no point psychoanalysing. It's over and I want to concentrate on how to move on". Would love to be able to do this! I imagine you, too. He may be controlling (to you) but just think - in a few months it might be possible that you have the upper hand and that you will be living without him.

I feel the same. I want to spare his feelings and I want us to be amicable, but it comes at a cost of coasting. I suspect these men know that, and are happy to drift. They have less to lose.

Go for it re. solicitor. I did this. Just be aware that if he goes, independently, the solicitor can only act for one of you, and may well tell him you have already been (I hadn't thought of this and used our 'favourite' firm, eek!). Also that it can open a whole can of financial worms - letters cost to draft and send, etc. It did help me to clarify things, but it is dreadful to see it in writing. I shook with fear and hide all the emails. Horrid.

Yes, agree, the limbo is horrible to live with. I have already spoken to my children's teachers as they need to know, and one of them mentioned how hard living in limbo is. I hadn't thought of it as limbo before. I like to think of it as limbo, it means I am heading somewhere, and not just sitting stagnant and accepting the situation. There must be change.

Be good to yourself, Diege. These are tough times. I am going to order Conscious Uncoupling as a friend of mine lent it to me and it is a brilliant guide.

Keep me updated! flowers and cake right back atcha! Thinking of you.

diege Fri 03-Jun-16 07:56:33

Thanks Over smile Lots of great advice there;lots of positivity which always helps.
I hadn't thought of limbo in that way. I agree that it does at least suggest being mid-way, which is better than where I was a month ago. He's back from working away tonight so will play it by ear over the weekend. Difficult to know whether to try and open up a conversation about the different 'places' we're at, or focus on the practical (we need to have separate bedroooms!!!).
I do like your friend's advice to be direct in Relate sessions. I could certainly try that in my solo session. The counsellor just wants me to go so I am 100% sure hmm so I am starting from that point. Not sure I'll fill an hour.
Anyway, for today I am going to stay positive. I'm going to book the session with the solicitor and enjoy the sunshine. I'm starting to dread weekends sadly but have some outings planned to keep me going.
How are you feeling at the moment Over?

overthehillandroundthemountain Fri 03-Jun-16 08:44:31

Hey Diege! Thanks for the speedy post.

I think I'm prob feeling like you. I need to be more direct. Need to empty the spare room and to suggest I move in there. I can't sleep with him - did you see the crazy hour of my post? We are very separate in bed, an imaginary dividing line of separation. I will fall out of bed, if I move any further away from him grin He hasn't commented but I know he has noticed. He often wears an eye mask (cheers!) claiming for light in the room but I expect also as escapism. Both of us thinking but neither acting.

Monday will be good - our next session, Go for it re. solo session! Will you really struggle to fill the hour? I am finding that with him, the hour passes very quickly, as we work through the history. Not sure how it will be alone. When is your session?

Yes. Stay positive. Lucky you, sunshine! Rubbish weather here AND he is home. Argh. He took the DCs out for the day so I didn't need to interact with him much yesterday. Today will be tough. Also dreading weekends BUT you and I are in limbo, and therefore edging towards Our New Lives. I spend time in his presence visualising how this will go. I love the glimpses into my new life. How I will do half terms. What Christmases will be like. I was reading a thread about newly divorced women and how they spend their time, and getting quite excited! Have also resurrected my old friendships. I will have more time, soon, to work with them.

In the meantime, told solicitor 'not yet' for the letter. He has been hassling me a bit over lack of communication. It doesn't feel right - the letter looks so bitter and litigious. I need more Relate time first.

Come back once you've done solicitor, would be great to compare notes. flowers It will be ok.

diege Sat 04-Jun-16 09:01:30

Well there's been a bit of 'progress' if you can call it that, in a sort of edging along the limbo continuum...I went out last night to friend's house, not back til gone midnight. He was up when I got in and was behaving very strangely, then launched into a verbal attack demanding I admit to the affair I was obviously having hmm. This was on basis of the taxi picking me up at the end of the road (random) and not outside the house. Lots of horrible accusations, him totally disbelieving I would end our relationship for anything other than someone else. I think I got through to him in the end but then he,said 'so you love me then?' to which I was able to answer with a resounding No! (progress). He continued by saying we had to forget all this nonsense about separation, so I was able to bring up the divorce conversation saying the process would reach a point (5 years?) when he would have no choice if we were separated to divorce (is that true? That's what I need the solicitors appt for). There has been some talk too of him moving out, but in very acrimonious tones
Maybe I'm beng too optimistic, but while it was an utterly horrendous conversation I do feel I have made a bit of progress.

Over, I thought of you last night as I was gripping the edge of the bed for dear life 😁 You sound very measured weighing up the implications of accelerating the solicitor process. Its going to be tough, but if/when the Relate comes to an end you will feel that least the letters are being send when they need to be if that makes sense? Lets hope our weekends are ok. Mine is going to be an interesting one!

overthehillandroundthemountain Sat 04-Jun-16 22:51:17

My goodness, Diege! That IS progress indeed. It seems so wrong to want to edge it along like this, but if your mind is made up and it's hard to talk, at least this sort of discussion unravels it a bit more.

I can imagine my DH thinking the same hmm That it must be an affair that would be setting the wheels in motion. Mine has already made sarcastic comments about my 'urgent emails that need answering'.

How horrid to be accused like that, but at least he asked the question and at least you were able to answer truthfully. Big progress. Annoying when they invalidate our feelings "that separation nonsense". I sense my DH thinking like this, too. He is doing his bit, the phase must be over! Errr no.

I think it is 2 years post separation that the marriage is dissolved. I'm sure there is stuff online. Go and get some advice! I need to consider whether the guy I saw is the one I would like, or whether I should see anyone else...

Poor you, edge of bed, too. Yes, am very sober over it all, very measured etc. Yes, feeling that the letters are ready, at least, also that I nabbed the good solicitor before he does grin

How was today? We went to see my brother. His wife knows we are having problems - thought it easier to have it in the open, they can help me avoid him grin. I want to get brother's help so he can help me break it to father & other rels, but no way of talking. Arghhhh....Maybe later down the line.

Someone told me that there comes a time where there is no going back. I wonder if that is true. Now I am confessing to so many people, I feel a bit like this. Why am I so scared? Argh.

Hope today went well for you. flowers

diege Sun 05-Jun-16 09:08:32

You are scared because you are making real progress, and change is always accompanied by some degree of fear. This is a positive emotion in our cases though because we are being brave and have reached the point of not going back now I sense. I have to say your advice and take on situations is far better than any Relate session grin
Great that you have told your brother - telling does empower I think, but I have really only told my very close female friends, who have been amazing. I am yet to tell my family (we're not especially close). I think they'll be horrified at my actions but I may be surprised. I think telling your brother and his wife is great progress for you Over; they will provide you with another 'shield' and outlet for your thoughts and worries smile
Yesterday was stressful but ok. Met a friend first thing then took dcs out on my own in the afternoon. Dh out with his sister. Last night he'd taken his pillow and sleeping bag downstairs and slept on the sofa, and he is out now and has been since 7ish (on his bike I think?). I am going
to ring the solicitor tomorrow and see if I can fit an appointment in around work hours.
Hope all ok with you - here's to further 'inching along' progress cake

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now