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How do i work out whether my relationship is ok ...

(35 Posts)
Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 11:34:33

... or not?

DH and I have been together for a long time, and while many things are positive, some are not. In the main, these have been worse in the past, and are not as bad at the moment, although we are currently experiencing a lot of stress and some of the issues are appearing again. The more extreme moments and conversations are (mostly?) in the distant past.
How do I figure out whether the things I am not comfortable with are part of the give&take of a relationship (especially as stressed)? or my fault ('I create the problems')? or unacceptable / abusive?
And how do I understand what to do about that?

I've been reading / lurking on GettingBig's threads - with enormous admiration - and while I do not experience the things she does, and I am appalled that she does, I do wonder how my situation would appear to an outsider.

Thank you!

Lueji Tue 19-Mar-13 11:37:03

Maybe you'll care to be more specific?

I guess the ultimate test is how does it make you feel?
Do you feel reasonably happy, safe, secure?
Do you trust him?
Do you feel you can share your feelings?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 11:41:17

Here's a checklist you might find useful ...

Does this relationship offer both parties optimal growth? _
Can you both develop into the greatest persons you can be? _
Does your partner fully accept that you have thoughts, beliefs, preferences, and feelings that differ from his? _
Does he respect those differences? _
Does he cherish you despite them? _
Does he accept your differences without trying to change you? _
Do you want to accept that your partner has thoughts, beliefs, preferences, and feelings that differ from yours? _
Can you respect those differences? _
Can you cherish your partner despite them? _
Can you accept them without trying to change them? _

SoHHKB Tue 19-Mar-13 11:41:50

Can you be 'yourself'? In all your beautiful, moody, helpful, distracted glory?

AnyFucker Tue 19-Mar-13 11:41:52

what lueji said

if you feel safe and secure, then you are probably ok

what are these "extreme moments"...that doesn't sound too good

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 11:42:37

I'm not even sure what to be specific about, and when I'm dragging issues from the past into the present.

I don't know how it makes me feel.
I sometimes feel happy / safe / secure.
I trust him absolutely with some things (he wouldn't have an affair, he's solid with money) but not with others (his anger and reactions to me, his stress and exhaustion*).
I have recently begun to share my feelings and sometimes this is ok, and sometimes he is cross.
(*I completely understand why he is stressed and tired. I am too.)

AnyFucker Tue 19-Mar-13 11:45:20

what form do his "anger and reactions to you" take ?

My DH is rarely angry, sometimes stressed but never, ever "reacts to me"

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 12:00:52

"I have recently begun to share my feelings and sometimes this is ok, and sometimes he is cross."

If you mean you don't feel able to talk about things that matter to you because he gets angry about it..... then it's not a good relationship.

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 12:10:04

Cogito: I might have picked a bad time, or phrased it badly, or inadvertently made it sound as if I'm blaming / cross with him, or sounded like I was suggesting he could have done something differently. I don't always (don't often) understand why things get so heated when they do.

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 13:03:47

AF: The extreme points are ones where I look back on my younger self and think: "why the fuck did you stay there?" Really not good.
Anger and reactions are scary shouting followed by walking out (I'd assumed that this was normal, but I'm wondering whether it's less ok than I thought), generally followed by a lot of simmering anger and upset and exhaustion that I end up apologising for. At length. He wishes I didn't row with him. I don't think I do argue / row, at most to say "I didn't mean it like that" or "OK, I agree with you, sorry I got it wrong" or "I'd rather you didn't talk to me like that." He feels I create all the arguments and cause him to shout. I don't really know what I do wrong.

turbochildren Tue 19-Mar-13 13:11:07

hello, don't want to highjack thread, but my advice after very recent experience is : it's most likely best to get out. If you try to be as considerate as poss, and still it is cery often a bad time or badly put...then that does not sound right. You do not cause him to shout. you do not cause him to be angry, he does this by himself.
Last week my similar situation came to a crashing end when my now exP took stranglehold on me when I was in the stairs holding our youngest.
If you don't know what it is you do that constantly make you feel you've done something wrong, it is him not you. It is not you. it is not you.
just repeat that until you believe it.

turbochildren Tue 19-Mar-13 13:12:16

do you have children?

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 13:19:28

We do.
I see you posted about this. May I read your threads?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 13:22:43

" I might have picked a bad time, or phrased it badly, or inadvertently made it sound as if I'm blaming / cross with him, or sounded like I was suggesting he could have done something differently. "

That makes it sound like it's your fault. In a good relationship you should be able to say what you feel at any time, phrased in any way, and you should be able to ask someone to make a change or even criticise them for something they've done wrong..... without them blowing up in your face.

If you are hanging back from expressing yourself freely because you fear the reaction, if you are treading on eggshells, then your behaviour is being manipulated by the other person. That's not a good or equal relationship that is a one-sided and unhealthy relationship.

If he's only calm or nicely behaved when you're submissive and making apologies then he's controlling you.

turbochildren Tue 19-Mar-13 13:28:20

yes, read them. It's been going on for quite some time. with the wonderful gift of hindsight I wish I had left, or never come back the time I did leave, but alas. It was so bad he was arrested, charged and is considered a threat to the children by the police and Children's Services. As an example of his viewpoint, he has pleaded not guilty and is taking it to crown court. It's me making him want to strangle me, he has said this. So if yours is saying you make him angry etc, and you have no idea what sets him He is doing that nicely all by himself.

( I want to write go go go. Is that allowed?)

turbochildren Tue 19-Mar-13 13:30:26

Even if it's "just" verbal or threatening posturing, that can easily change if he thinks it's all right to scare you. don't think it's not so bad, it does not have to go as far as you being attacked. it's more than bad enough already for you!

Lueji Tue 19-Mar-13 13:42:11

Pretty much what turbo and cogito said.

What you reported is not good.

There will always be good times, but it's in the bad times that relationships are really evaluated.
If partners are still respectful of each other when arguing, if they still feel safe, if they recognise their own contribution to the arguments, if they can listen to the other and respect their opinions even though they disagree.

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 13:45:29

Is there some kind of frequency of blow-up that's acceptable? Or severity?
Why does he get cross with me for causing the rows when I can't really see what I've done / how I'm perpetuating it / why it was so serious?
How can I be sure it's NOT me that's in the wrong? He would be sure that he isn't at fault and that "If you only hadn't ...' or that "You should know that ... ".

Cogito: I think I am identifying with what you're saying, but it's taken a couple of decades to be able to begin to think like that, and while I can agree with what you say, I can't see whether it applies to me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 13:49:33

Glad you're beginning to see the light but it would be a crying shame to waste a few more decades before you actually did something about it... hmm You're a long time dead.

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 13:54:42

So how do I see whether it applies to me? Or whether I am being as unreasonable as I am told?
And then WHAT do I do?
'Cos, you know, I do really think I agree with you....

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 13:55:55

... But I don't want to agree with you. I want it to be ok, and solvable, and a bad moment in time right now, and just a case of me managing to cope and deal a bit better.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 13:59:30

"Why does he get cross with me for causing the rows when I can't really see what I've done "

Precisely because it keeps you on the back foot, confused, doubting yourself and questioning your judgement. There's an expression in football.... 'playing the man, not the ball'.... i.e. taking out the opponent rather than going for a fair tackle. That's what he's doing to you. Rather than talk about the problem, debate the point, listen to criticism or accept that he has to change something about himself... he goes on the attack. It's bullying.

In conversation with a normal person who wants to engage
"I am unhappy about X"
"Sorry to hear that. How can we make X work better?"

In conversation with a bully who simply wants to attack
"I am unhappy about X"
"You're just a stupid bitch, you've no idea what you're talking about and you're never happy!"

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Mar-13 14:05:39

" I want it to be ok, and solvable"

Bullies know this. Sorry. They realise that you'll never leave, never make them leave, don't want a fuss, want everything to be OK and nice everyone being friends and happy & so forth.... If pushed they can turn on the charm for short time until the dust settles but really they have no incentive to change behaviour because they're All Right Jack.

Like a dog trainer, he scared you into submission in the past with his shouting and walking out antics. Now he probably just has to give you a 'look' and you know you'd better shut up.... am I right?

Lueji Tue 19-Mar-13 14:07:33

I want it to be ok, and solvable, and a bad moment in time right now, and just a case of me managing to cope and deal a bit better.
We all did. sad
But at some point you stop hoping, and you realise that you should not be "coping" and "dealing with it", because he does fuck all to cope and deal with, or even work at the relationship.
(not sure if that's what happens in yours, BTW, but it does sound like it, as he always puts the blame on you)

Cairngorms Tue 19-Mar-13 14:19:26

"I am unhappy about X"
"Well you shouldn't be. I work my arse off for you." (that's his job work, not housework). "What are we going to do with you? But you said you wanted X." (Whether I did or didn't.) And probably other stuff I can't remember.

I think we go through nice phases where he's trying and he's pleasant and he contributes to family life when he's around. And then it falls apart.

Yes, lueji I really want it to be trivial and solvable and not happening.

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