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What do you think about this reaction? Especially if you hate confrontations

(86 Posts)
FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:13:10

What would you do in a scenario such as the one below?

Something happens that has upset your partner/husband/wife very much. So much that he/she decides to just get out of the house for some fresh air and doesn't come back for a good 45 minutes. On his/her return, said partner looks upset/hurt/like he/she has been crying.

What would you do on her return?

What would you do if you know that asking what's going on will mean he/she is likely to tell you what is wrong and it is likely to have something to do with you?

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:07:14


badinage Sun 03-Mar-13 14:09:44

Letting rip with all of your issues wouldn't be appropriate in front of the children would it? While I don't think it does kids any favours never to see their parents argue or resolve conflict, there's a time and a place if exchanges are going to be angry and emotions are running high.

What I don't understand is why you wanted any of them to come to see you when you came in if your motive was purely to get some space before you exploded or became tearful. No conversation at that point was going to be productive was it?

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:11:52

I would have expected a 'hello' or a 'how are you'. I was expecting a 'what's going on?' as I knew it wasn't going to happen anyway.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:12:49

And a good bye when leaving.

isn't that normal politeness?

I don't know what is normal anymore.

postmanpatscat Sun 03-Mar-13 14:16:14

It doesn't really matter what anyone on here would do, there are a variety of ways to handle conflict. DP's natural reaction was to leave the room/house, now he has learned that we can talk things through and most of the time we resolve things without it ever getting to that stage. I tend to get defensive and tearful. Neither of these help, but we never lose sight of the fact that we are each other's most important person and the relationship strengthens each time we resolve an issue and agree a way forward. I have two divorces behind me, so I've learned to get better at dealing with things too!

What matters here is what's important to you. Your DH seems to have little respect for you and little interest in you. Maybe he is also feeling frustrated and has taken DC out to avoid a row in their presence. Maybe he hopes that some time and space will allow you both to calm down so that you can talk later? Or maybe he doesn't care enough about you and your marriage to do that, what do you think?

Numberlock Sun 03-Mar-13 14:17:11

It sounds draining for all concerned.

Time2Nap Sun 03-Mar-13 14:20:10

I know exactly how you feel!

My OH does the same thing, and I honestly think its because they dont know how to deal with the situation. My OH says it seems I want space so waits for me to come to OH.

It also drives me up the wall when it seem OH is ignoring me but I think OH just isnt as observant as me and has tunnel vision when doing something so doesnt hear anything. I find it frustrating as assume everyone can hear /see what I can.

Is this the case with your DP, is it just he doesnt hear or know how to handle or do you think he is avoiding you hoping it will go away?

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 14:20:24


I shouldn't have posted that. I can't reply to you without criticising the OP and that's clearly not appropriate.

Branleuse Sun 03-Mar-13 14:22:49

have you considered asking HIM what's wrong?

Time2Nap Sun 03-Mar-13 14:23:38

oh and is your DP's family like it, maybe it is their personality. My OH mother is like it too and in the begining of our relationship I thought they were just being bloody rude ignoring me speaking but actually they just couldnt hear / didnt realise I was speaking to them. Seems strange to me but we are all different, I kind of wish I had the same fault rather then hearing too much, wearing me out lol

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:25:10

Maybe he hopes that some time and space will allow you both to calm down so that you can talk later? Yes I think he decided to take them to that (planned!) activity to give me space but he is NOT going to raise the issue later.

Or maybe he doesn't care enough about you and your marriage to do that, what do you think? I think he cares about the marriage but that it feels to me like he doesn't. Hence the fact I got really emotional about the fact no one talked to me.
This feeling being taken for granted isn't new. I told DH many many times. At best he looks slightly horrified. At worst, he gets annoyed/angry (but never ever raises his voice with me hmm).

weheryouleftit raises a good point. If he can't cope with confrontations, then why is it OK for him to make sarcastic comments, be in a foul mood and have a go at the dcs and then it's not acceptable for anyone else in the house to do so?
I think I need to go back to the drawing board there.

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 14:25:54

Oh dear, I think this sounds exhausting. He doesn't communicate properly, even to respond to small every day requests, and not to big things like budget and holiday dates either? How do you get anything done? I have to say I would find that terribly difficult.

It kind of sounds to me that you are ground down by this, and reacted out of frustration, and he is ignoring that too, hence your on-going distress. STBXH would also ignore me crying at times, not because I was constantly crying, but because then I felt emotionally all over the place, while he remained calm and collected and doing exactly what he wanted, and it is a tactic which undermines you. As is ignoring requests.

I don't really want to say more than that, because you have given a snapshot of your relationship here, and I wouldn't want to make any further judgements because anything I say is coloured by my own experience. But you know the bigger picture, and I think postmanpat'scat has some sensible suggestions to think about context.

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 14:28:42

>>why is it OK for him to make sarcastic comments, be in a foul mood and have a go at the dcs and then it's not acceptable for anyone else in the house to do so? <<

Okay, this is a bit more information. It doesn't sound like a good atmosphere to live in. Have you spoken to him about this? Or tried to?

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 14:30:25

By the way, I hate confrontations too, because I grew up in a dysfuntional family and my parents were always rowing. It made me a people pleaser, always trying to keep people happy and having no boundaries. It didn't make me into someone who provoked dischord.

Wideboy Sun 03-Mar-13 14:41:03

Bit of male perspective. By the way, we've been married a long time and the difficult issues are now largely behind us - I mean bringing up the children, paying the mortgage, keeping the peace with difficult parents etc. In the time when there was conflict, my wife would often go out for half an hour or so. I presumed to cool down, but as it seemed to be a way of making a point I just used to refuse to acknowledge it as it felt like pandering to her. I don't recall how it progressed from there but it would probably be discussed later when the making-up took place.

On the subject of not speaking when there's a problem, I'm interested to note that this is interpreted as controlling, passive aggressive etc. In my case, it was simply that my wife could not take criticism from me, so it was easier to say nothing. She could take criticism from others, but never from me.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:46:51

Yes I have in the past asked HIM what's wrong. I never got any answer at all. To give you an idea, I once told him we were going to separate if things didn't change/improve. I asked him to stop putting down the dcs constantly. I asked him what he wanted me to change. His answer was 'When you go in the garage to pick some stuff in the freezer, could you close the door? The kitchen is getting cold otherwise.'.... He has never ever told me what is annoying him. I had to guess from his grumpiness what was an issue.

And the worst bit is that I also know he isn't been abusive or anything like that, even when the lack of communication can be such that 'it's as hurtful as abuse' (Words from the counsellor I saw at the time I was thinking about divorce)

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:53:21


Wideboy can I ask how you knew it was a tactic? And what sort of make up you had?

Because in this house, 'amking up' just means 'going back to what we were doing before as if nothing had happened'. Not discussing things.

snow I know what you mean. This how it feels to me. But then I also know deep down this is more about his own insecurities and a complete lack of 'knowing how to react' than down to emotionally abusive behaviour. I have gone down that route before (Hence the counsellor). The result is just as hurtful.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:55:30

DH back now.

He came to see me, vaguely talked about what the dcs have being doing and ... has no gone to the computer wo saying a word.
If anyone is going to raise the issue (even on a what's going on there? way) it will have to be me again.

AThingInYourLife Sun 03-Mar-13 15:01:59

If DH got so upset about something that he went out for 45 minutes to walk it off I would want to talk about it as soon as he came back.

In fact, I would insist.

I think your DH's refusal to discuss any issues is deeply unpleasant and unfair.

buildingmycorestrength Sun 03-Mar-13 15:08:05

The 'not knowing how to react' will only get him so far, iyswim. He has to be willing to retrain himself. My dh is struggling with it but I do think he is trying.

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 15:17:14

>>The result is just as hurtful. <<

I think in your position, the question I would be asking is what he is doing to address his 'not knowing how to react'. Communication is a two-way process, otherwise you are on a hiding to nothing. Both parties have to be willing to work to sort out issues.

badinage Sun 03-Mar-13 16:44:18

OP are you genuinely saying that you've never done anything like this before? Not just left the house. Never retired to bed, or left a room, or got moody and withdrawn and expected everyone to prise out of you what's wrong?

If you are being truthful about that, then it does seem strange that even the children didn't say hello/goodbye or asked you what was wrong. Your husband though might have decided that it wasn't the time or the place especially as he had to take the kids somewhere and obviously they are up and around right now too. I'd expect him to raise it when they'd gone to bed though.

If he ignores it and that's symptomatic of how he usually deals with conflict, then you're going to have to say something aren't you? The alternative is sulking until someone breaks first, which isn't healthy. But this doesn't sound like a healthy relationship anyway and it's worrying to think what lessons your DCs are learning from all this tension and drama.

WobblyHalo Sun 03-Mar-13 17:51:15

Op, I was you 11 years ago. I cried on a 7 hour bus journey and then a 12 hour flight to the other side of the world, all the while sitting next to my husband who flat out ignored me. I suspect he also thought it was a 'tactict' Wideboy upthread mentioned.

The reality was that I suffered terrible depression, but did not recognise it or could articulate what was wrong with me. Unrealistically and unfairly, I wanted my husband to see something was wrong and take action. Possibly save me.

The fact that he could blank out my upset made it much worse. But in reality, I think he also just had no clue as to what to do and in typically male fashion stuck his head in the sand.

The good news is that we have now been married for 12 years and are really happy. I got diagnosed with pnd after my first child and we went to Relate. The councelling saved us. It tought us how to communicate and how to value each others' feelings.

This could work for you, but I worry thta your DH's passive aggressiveness will derail it. That is something that needs to be looked at.

Not sure how much help I am, but I wanted you to know that I 'get' how you feel. It's shit, and I hope you find a way out. xx

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 18:34:35

badinage just as anyone else I do sometimes get moody and withdrawn. But no, I never retired to bed or left a room in a sulk hoping that someone will 'prise out of me what's wrong' because in 15 years DH has never asked me what was wrong. Ever. (Not when I was upset nor when I have not being upset but struggling with work or whatever)

The children are just doing what their dad does. Saying hello and goodbye isn't automatic for him so the dcs do the same.
Leaving the room and staying silent is certainly his way to dealing with things. That's what the dcs see. So I came back, I looked upset (ie there was some 'tension') kaboom, dcs stay silent too...

I have seen them doing that so often. I can cope with DH quirky ways but it hurts me much more when the dcs act in that way sad

TheSeniorWrangler Sun 03-Mar-13 18:42:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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