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.
A male thread I'm afraid(228 Posts)
Hello - a bit of relationship advice is what I'm after.
I am 33 years old, been married for 8 years - two children (sons) - can't get into that ds thing sorry (which seems to be code for sons I've worked out) - but my marriage is in trouble.
My wife is quick to anger and slow to forgive, getting annoyed for what I perceive as small reasons and then stays silent for weeks on end. I am into another cycle of this silent treatment now (week 5) and I think I've had enough. She doesn't speak to me during these periods, doesn't answer my calls or texts and when I am at home will pass messages to me through the children - 'tell your father this' e.t.c. The cause of this most recent flareup seems to be money issues - she keeps on parking in a private car parking area and gets fined £130 each time. I only mentioned it, I didn't even get angry - I don't tend to anyway.
I am at my wits end as to how to end these episodes. I even went away to climb Kilimanjaro in the intervening time (a trip booked long in advance) and I both went away, sent messages from abroad, and returned without her responding to my efforts to communicate. My approaches are friendly.
For the first time I am beginning to feel that there is no hope for the relationship, as these episodes are increasing in length each time. Do any of you have any advice?
You sound very unhappy, and i wonder why your still there also. surely your boys would benefit from having dad happy and in his own space than in a house where things are tense and difficult. You only get one life, dont waste it being treated this way.
You cannot change her - only she can do this, if she wishes to.
That kind of an athmosphere is damaging to your kids.
I cannot imagine that she is happy either - if both of you wanted to affect positive change in your relationship, consider counselling.
If you are the only one wanting change, there is not a lot you can do other than leave.
What happens when she starts talking again? Is there something you do that ends it, or does she just start again and act like nothing has happened?
What are these 'small' reasons?
Wow that was fast - thanks!
She normally just starts talking again of her own volition and I am usually so relieved I don't question her very much at all about her reasons for starting it and continuing it till then. I am quite scared of starting up another episode by doing this so perhaps this lack of communication on my part is also a problem. I do actually still like her when she's talking (as she's quite normal during these times) and it usually coincides with her being angry at some other family member. The kids don't seem that bothered by it, oddly, but at 5 and 6 I am unsure if they're more bothered that they let on.
The reasons include: Bringing up another parking fine, asking if she's locked the door when we're going out (I am a bit OCD perhaps), expressing annoyance that her sister who lives abroad is asking for yet more money and when we were on holiday last year for example she bought toy catapults for the boys which were expensive and broken and I asked her to take them back to the shop. She ignored me for the rest of the holiday after that
You need to get as far away from this poisonous person as possible. She sounds like she belongs in a mental institution.
your dw seems to be punishing you for not going along with her ideals. i find this really difficult. you sound like you are walking on eggshells in your own home. If you think she would attend counselling then that may be a start but please dont put up with this
I think it'd be worth trying relationship counselling - go on your own to start with. The silent treatment isn't acceptable and is emotionally abusive - which is why I suggest you go alone. It may be that she can learn new ways of dealing with her anger, but this behaviour needs to be brought into the open.
This is not an adult or respectful way to conduct a relationship, adults who love each other communicate, she's being controlling and 'punishing' you and dragging your children into her schoolgirl silences.
My mother is married to a man who for the past 15 years has punished her (for things like daring to ask him to pick up hedge clippings etc) with silence often lasting for months on end, as her child it makes me unbearably angry and has affected me. I wish she'd stop martyring herself and
leave the bastard get divorced.
Your boys will be walking on eggshells around her and learning lessons on relationships.
Does she not respond to requests for conversation regarding your marriage?
If she doesn't see anything wrong with her behaviour are you willing for this to be the rest of your life?
Even if you had been a bit of a nob/snappy, adults would say 'i don't appreciate being spoken to like that, later could we talk about whatever has put you in a bad mood?' (or something), it sounds exhausting to spend portions of your life being ignored by someone who has vowed to cherish, love and honour you
She sounds quite ghastly I'm afraid.
You aren't obliged to live your life being treated this way, you know.
It sounds like there are a lot of issues here and that your wife is extremely resentful towards you, but is expressing that resentment in damaging and inappropriate ways. You don't say whether your mountain-climbing trip was paid for by family funds or whether your absence from caring for a 5 and 6 year old was negotiated and supported, but if your wife is resentful about that she needs to express that openly and not in emotionally abusive ways that are harming your children because of the atmosphere and their roles as go-betweens.
What is non-negotiable is for this situation to prevail because it is damaging all of you actually and your children have no choice other than to live in a damaging and hostile atmosphere. As they get older and visit friends' houses, they will realise this is not the way healthy relationships and families operate and they will blame both of you for that and they will be right.
So you need to put them first and attempt to broker a change. You might decide that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship and need to extricate yourself from it, while still playing an active role in co-parenting. However if you leave your marriage and play a 50% role in parenting, this will involve personal sacrifices and will probably put paid to long trips away.
Incidentally, couples counselling is not recommended for emotionally abusive relationships.
Oh I HATE sulkers. It is so manipulative.
The damage she is doing to your children should not be ignored. It is not normal to have your parent telling you to say something to your other parent, who's right there it's so childish.
And repeatedly parking somewhere she KNOWS she'll get fined for and giving you the juvenile sulky crap if you dare say anything?
She sounds like a total arse to me.
She is effectively controlling you with it, isn't she? you are afraid of trying to talk about it in case she starts again. So she gets to do whatever she wants and you're afraid to challenge anything.
It is no way to live. It is no way for your children to have to live!
She doesn't really respond to anything I say during these times, let alone questions about the relationship. Well okay I haven't really brought it up when she's in a bad way and I am not keen to when she is in a good way either. I don't want to live like this forever but I am massively fearful about doing something permanent about it. There was a period lasting perhaps four months earlier this year that were really good.
I went along to a single session of 'relate' counselling by myself a few months back. It was all very awkward to be honest - an old terraced house with paint peeling off the walls and coffee tables full of advice about domestic violence. The counsellor basically had a half hour chat with me, advised me to try and bring the wife along next time as the session was of doubtful benefit without her; I did and she refused to come and that was the end of that really.
I know it doesn't sound like it but has she developed this to signal extreme annoyance as a way of avoiding a physical confrontation? Just wonder if she fears some kind of violent eruption. Not saying you have ever raised a hand to her but it's something she could fear happening.
I can understand silent treatment as an extension of sulking for want of a better word but this sounds extreme.
Is this sending to Coventry technique something she's always done with you? Does she give your sons the silent treatment too or is it just directed at you? Does she have a short fuse, you mention her being angry at other family members.
Cross posted with OP,
Your children will be aware, they'll know they have to pick a side when their mother begins another punishment campaign against you, they'll know to pick their words wisely incase she does it to them next, they'll assume that silence is how relationships work...
And you don't have to settle for emotional abuse, you only get one life.
Of course that was that. Why should she change? you toe the line, fearful of another bout of sulking. She gets to behave how she likes and when she deigns to speak to you again, you're so grateful you don't bring up her behaviour...
What's in it for her to change. Sounds like she likes things just the way they are.
It's you that has to say no, I'm not taking this life any more. It is destroying me.
She sounds awful and quite abusive and also as though she isn't afraid to involve the children in her abuse of you.
I enjoyed your thread title but am sorry to read the post. What do you want to do in this relationship where there is no communication or respect for you?
You have my sympathies - I suppose you should give her the opportunity to know how seriously you are taking this and how unhappy it is making you. Other people's 'normal' is another persons 'completely unacceptable / strange' so you do at least need to be explicit with her about to what degree this is an unsustainable approach from her to your relationship. Then, if nothing changes, you may be happier elsewhere. Everyone needs to feel valued and loved.
and the trip to Kilimanjaro where she was left to care for a 5 and a 6 year old on her own? How did that get negotiated and who paid for it?
I'm so sorry you are dealing with this OP. It sounds almost exactly like my parents' relationship. My mum does the silent treatment with my dad for months on end and used to do it with me and my sister when we were kids. It's emotionally abusive behavior and horribly painful. My parents have stayed together for 30+ years (long story) and are two of the most miserable people I know. I have grown up with a very messed up view of relationships and see a therapist because of it. You owe it to yourself and your son's to live a happy healthy life.
This is going faster than I anticipated! Thanks - Charbon - yes it was paid for by 'family funds' and it was negotiated in advance. I don't think that was the issue really. She'd gone on holiday with family members in February this year to India and this was also paid for by us as a family and I looked after the children in the UK while she was there. I was also fine by that. It was quite a relaxing time really.
She doesn't give our sons the silent treament no. She has regular bouts of silence with her sister (who lives abroad) that have lasted much longer than anything I've been subjected to thus far. Unfortuately her parents are not around anymore though when her mother was alive this silence thing was inflicted on her as well sometimes. She goes salsa dancing once a week and has friends there.
It is a big decision to make reagring divorce. It is such a horrible thing to put my children through and I keep thinking there might be something I'm doing wrong that if I did right this would not happen. She is most definitely not fearful of my temper as I have none - I have also thought that if I were perhaps more assertive that would be an answer. It would be weird though inventing assertiveness like that and might not go down too well. Perhaps it really is too late for this relationship.
I couldn't put up with this, and I wouldn't.
Since you can't really go exploding at her in front of the DC to get a reaction, then your options are very limited.
In your shoes I think I would get the DC otherwise engaged and then have it out. I would not put up with her sulking. If she will not alter this behaviour and start to explain what her problem is then I would take steps to end the marriage.
I would also try to make sure that I was never in a position where I was unable to care for the DC or have them stay with me. She sounds horrendous, and I do not have high expectations of her behaving rationally or in the best interests of the children if you were to try and end the marriage.
She cannot be happy with this relationship.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.