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H and I had heated and possibly over honest confrontation in counselling, now he is not speaking to me at all

(127 Posts)
feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 16:20:30

We have had two bad episodes like this before when he blanked me for a period of weeks following a bad argument. (Once up to 6 weeks, the other time a little less I think). When I bring this up in counselling he says yes but what was the argument about - as if what I did or said (which I don't agree with as on both occasions I was very angry with him about the way he behaved so it's kind of a swings and roundabouts situation) warranted him not speaking to me for six weeks hmm.

We have been in counselling for a few months now but we have probably been for a total of 6 sessions together so far as often we can't go for various reasons. What has happened is that I have finally been able to say what I find so difficult, and he has basically reiterated again and again that the state of the house is the main issue for him. In fact I think he went to counselling in the hope that the house would become minimalistic and since that hasn't happened he has said that there is no point to going.

However, though I have finally been able to externalise much of what I find difficult, it doesn't actually feel like anything has changed between us.
On Monday I was very honest about how I feel. I have mentioned the possibility of separating several times now but neither the counsellor nor h take it up. Things also got pretty heated and in the same way that h finds so many things so difficult about me (I am apparently childish, messy, a victim, etc... etc...) I have also said what I find difficult (I find h bad tempered, cynical, negative, he bears grudges etc....). At the point at which he was saying that I am such a VICTIM I got upset/angry and said that to stop behaving like a victim would mean telling him to Fxxx OFF, at which he said that I do, every day (not in so many ways but I suppose we are both often distant from each other, in my case because I find him overbearing, controlling, critical and yes bad tempered).

Anyway, sorry to go on, my question is... given that it did get very heated and "over" honest in counselling, do I now have to accept that h is not talking to me at all (I ask him questions face to face and he doesn't answer at all, I can sometimes get an answer out of him if on the phone - these are all logistics questions nothing more) - IS IT IN FACT MY FAULT?????

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 21:44:43

"but" not buy! and my telling him not "me"

solidgoldbrass Thu 04-Oct-12 21:46:31

If he thinks the house is messy, how much is he doing to tidy it up? He sounds like a sexist, abusive prick that you would be best advised to get rid of, really.

Though I suppose it's ony fair to ask: are you a hoarder?

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 21:46:55

He does definitely get stressed by clutter. Very easily. To the extent that he said he hated the dvd shelves because there are things in front of them on the shelves and some of the dvds are piled sideways and not put back properly. I think stuff stresses his brain.

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 21:48:07

I am a little bit of a hoarder but nothing like the people on TV !! A little nostalgic about and too attached to the past but nothing that couldn't be sorted out.

ChooChooLaverne Thu 04-Oct-12 21:48:22

How is he with your children? Does he punish them in the same way? Does he talk to them/listen to them or is it 'my way or the highway'? Does he have fun with them? Do they like spending time with him?

How much caring for them does he do? I'm curious as to why you assume if you split they would divide their time between the two of you 50/50. Is this how it is currently?

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 21:49:01

I think he would tidy it up but by throwing everything away which of course would cause fireworks between us.

AbigailAdams Thu 04-Oct-12 21:51:08

OK he sounds horrible and emotionally abusive. Counselling is not a good thing with him as he will turn everything on to you as your fault. He will use it as a weapon against you. As you are an SAHM it wouldn't necessarily be 50/50 custody as they would want to maintain the status quo with you as the primary cared. So it would more be 70/30 to you I would think. A solicitor would be best to advise.

Sorry for such a brief post I am off to bed. But he sounds like a nightmare and you have my sympathy. Btw my husband sounds about as untidy as you are and I don't treat him like he treats you. It isn't normal.

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 21:51:44

He loves the children very much and is very affectionate with them. He does spend time with them. Occasionally he loses his temper irrationally I feel (and the elder 2 will tell him straight away and don't take any crap, he doesn't often get cross with the youngest) but then gets over it pretty quickly.
I think 50/50 would be the fairest thing as both of us would be devastated to have less than that, in fact 50/50 would be pretty devastating!

AnyFucker Thu 04-Oct-12 21:54:52

Joint counselling is a bad idea when there is any abuse within the relationship

As illustrated by this scenario

OP, I agree with your prick of a husband. The counselling is a waste of time.

I think you should end this farce.

SorryMyLollipop Thu 04-Oct-12 22:17:10

My H was like this. He used to get very angry about the state of the house, would threaten to throw all the dc's toys away etc. I got rid 7 months ago. Never been happier.

Would his job make 50:50 childcare an option for him?

amillionyears Thu 04-Oct-12 22:29:43

Could you put some of your stuff that you dont want to throw intp say a spare bedroom?
Are you both about the same age?
Why is the house in his name only.Did he live in it with his ex wife?
By not talking to you,he is emotionally controlling you.
You say he does not need you emotionally,but I tend to think that all adults need another adult emotionally. It is possible that he doesnt properly realise that himself.
What is he saying about the seperating?

allthefun Thu 04-Oct-12 22:30:40

Do you know why he hasn't ended it?

He seems to be the one that is most unhappy with you and the house so what's stopping him leaving?

thetrackisback Thu 04-Oct-12 22:30:52

Oh dear it sounds like torture. I definitely think you need to go to counselling. You have lost your mum and the hoarding may be symptomatic of that. I also think you need to get practical. Get a plan together of what you would do if you we're to separate. Also I think you need to explore with your partner about moving. You've moved into his house you need your house. You might want to hoard less and it might give you a fresh start and a clean slate! I lost my mum six years ago and I recognise in myself I splash the cash to over compensate. The latest example was to go to euro Disney this Christmas to stop feeling hurt about missing my parents. We can't afford it so it was madness but I'm lucky my husband recognised this and either supports my spending ie what the hell or tells me to look at what I'm doing!!

HissyByName Thu 04-Oct-12 22:43:11

I don't know your H, but I do know this:

Not speaking to someone, for any period at all let alone weeks at a time is called STONEWALLING. It is one of the WORST forms of abuse/torture you can inflict on a relationship/partner.

You mentioned he was controlling, critical and derogatory of you.

To me he sounds as if he is abusive.

Counselling where there is Domestic Abuse is always discouraged, the perpetrators use the counselling to get at their victim, and make things worse.

IMVHO, you need to STOP the counselling as a couple and just YOU go, talk about you, your feelings, your anger, your sadness and work out what you are doing in life, why and what you could be doing

olgaga Thu 04-Oct-12 22:58:21

I really don't know where this assumption that children should be shared 50/50 comes from. Does he do 50% of the caring now? If not, why are you even thinking along those lines?

I think you would be better off seeing a family lawyer than another counsellor to be honest.

You might find it helpful to start reading during these long silences:

Relationship Breakdown and Divorce – Advice and Links

It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.


If there are children involved, their welfare, needs and interests are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be “fairly” divided between separating parents.

A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (“Statement of Arrangements for Children”). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - “Residence and Contact” regarding children, “Financial Order” or “Ancillary Relief” in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.

Always see a specialist family lawyer!

Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who don’t know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation – there’s a lot of knowledge and support out there!

Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Don’t just stick with the first lawyer you find – shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor you’re happy with.

If you can’t find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:

You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:

You will also read good advice and find a family lawyer here:

Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients – Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.


You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.

If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so it’s important to have that first.

Married or Living Together?

This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.

Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here:

DirectGov advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:

Legal Rights and issues around contact are further explained here:

I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read – there are others of course:


Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements – savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?

If you have no access to financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway. If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order (follow the links below). This seeks financial information from both parties going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.

If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):

1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.

CSA maintenance calculator:

Handy tax credits calculator:

Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:

Parenting issues:

Other Support for Women – Children, Housing, Domestic Violence and - Helpline 0808 2000 247 - Helpline 0844 8044 999 - Helpline 0808 802 0925
(Note that there is usually an appropriate link on these websites for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ.

garlicbutty Thu 04-Oct-12 23:47:17

Isn't olga great smile

Feel, I don't think you are a hoarder. You've described keeping things of sentimental importance, like children's pictures & writing, and putting stuff in 'nearly' the right place before determining where it should live. I also don't find your feelgood spending particularly irrational. You spent funds that were yours to spend, at a time when life seemed bleak, on things that genuinely did make life better. If anything, I'd suggest you weren't selfish enough for such a time: magazines and accessories are just everyday treats (or should be) unless you mean you bought the company!

I'm very worried that you're so ready to do yourself down. You seem remarkably dis-entitled, even to the point of calling your family home 'his'.

Perhaps your counsellor's inexperienced and takes you at your own evaluation ... which is really his. It's rather sad to read.

Charbon Fri 05-Oct-12 01:44:44

Stop the counselling, because this relationship sounds abusive and couples counselling is never recommended in those cases. Plus, the way you describe it sounds like 'counselling by numbers' where the therapist stays in a comfort zone around initial couple-fit and runs scared of anything outside it, such as requests to separate, or emotions like anger and sadness. In fairness to the therapist however, your failure to keep weekly appointments has probably made the therapeutic experience extremely disjointed and unsatisfactory for all involved.

Stonewalling and silence are recognised bullying, punitive tactics, but victim-like behaviour and childish responses in adult interactions are also relationship breakers. You might both argue about what came first, or whether one set of behaviours breeds the other in response.

From how you describe your marriage, it sounds like it's time to call it quits and agree on residence for the children and the division of assets. If married, the latter is usually much more straightforward and it matters not whose name is on the property deeds. You say he is a very involved parent and so shared residence might be best for the children, but as has been said this is about their rights, not yours or your husband's. If it's deemed suitable for them to reside with both of you (and many couples manage this by rotating a 4:3, alternate weekend arrangement, with reasonably proximate housing) then you will both have to accept some separation from them.

piprabbit Fri 05-Oct-12 02:08:04

I'm so sorry that you are struggling in such a difficult relationship. It is awful that the counsellor you hoped would help you, seems to be failing you ATM.

There is one tiny thing that you said in your earlier post when you talked about spending your savings. When you talked about buying "good" things, you listed practical household goods, things that would benefit the whole family. When you talked about buying things for yourself, you said it was "wasted" money. It almost sounds as though you feel you didn't deserve to have the things you bought yourself. I'm not sure if that is what you have always believed yourself, or if you are reflecting your Hs views on the matter.

Sorry for rambling, I was just really struck by your distinction between "good things" (for the family as a whole - including vacuum cleaners to help keep your home spick and span for your H hmm) and "wasted things" (for yourself).

FairPhyllis Fri 05-Oct-12 02:20:52

If I were one of your children I would be very confused and distressed that my father was not talking to my mother for periods of up to six weeks. You need to end this marriage for the sake of your children.

WorriedBetty Fri 05-Oct-12 02:24:03

Can I just say that my dad is a crazed minimalist/controller of space and my mum a bit hoardery (or a bit 'house should be interestery' - i used to love going into the houses of friends who were really 'into' something and had either paintings everywhere, or books everywhere or records everywhere. i don't like people who have everything blank and empty but who try to make everyone else live like them (Its a truism in my world that the people who have the emptiest tidiest houses want to make everyone be like them.. isn't that sinister in itself??)

My dad sees my mum as personality deficient as he cannot understand why anyone would want to have things they are not going to use in the next five minutes anywhere in the house. He has convinced my mum that she is personality deficient (as so many 'clear desk' people do) because she likes bookshelves, stuff she might use soon and objet d'art around. that to me is really a lack of acceptance that others are different from you.

I see my dad as personality deficient, because he seeks to sweep away personality away from every aspect of his life, and from every room so that it feels like a municipal waiting room (now if that was a style statement I would get it, but its more like a 'airbrush away what makes you you' approach). I see his house as soulless and personality-less.

the point is that he seems to see ways of looking at the world that differ from his as being 'lesser' and that really needs to be gotten to the bottom of.

garlicbutty Fri 05-Oct-12 02:26:32

Pip, I was distressed to read that, too.

Markingthehours Fri 05-Oct-12 02:36:52

If you are married the 'his' house is yours too 50/50 no matter what it says on the title deeds/mortgage

Markingthehours Fri 05-Oct-12 02:37:17


Flimflammery Fri 05-Oct-12 03:16:37

There is a big difference between a marriage guidance type counsellor and a properly-trained therapist. It sounds like your counsellor is out of their depth here and you would do better with someone else, just for yourself.

Also, having the children's homework and drawings etc on the dining table is not being a hoarder - if that were true I think 90% of families would be hoarders!

feelokaboutit Fri 05-Oct-12 07:44:32

So many interesting posts. Thank you very much. I have read all of them and have lots to say / ask / answer but no time now so will be able to respond after home time this afternoon as am going on middle daughter's school trip. Thanks again.

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