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Is it time to go or still a chance it will work?

(29 Posts)
Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 12:07:09

I have been married for 4 years, together for 7. we have 2 small children.

In the time that I've known him we have struggled to find a way to resolve arguments. I want to talk, he shuts down and won't comfort me a I get more upset because he won't talk to me!! In the past we've always made up after few days but never really resolved the problem. In the last 6 months things have got a lot worse. I have lost my temper a number of times which I am not proud of but have been on the end of him telling me I don't care about him or the children, I don't do anything aroudn the house, if I help out friends I am trying to socially climb and apparently, I am trying to put him down infront of others constantly but these put downs are things that are innocuous and I'm not aware that I am saying them.

I have asked for us to go to counselling which he says I'm pathetic to want to try as we should be able to resolve ourselves. I am going alone.

I have said for the sake of the children (in front of whom we don't argue but quite often have frosty atmospheres) we need to learn to resolve arguments. He says we wouldn't have arguments if I wasn't so difficult, confrontational etc and I am not brave enough to make the changes which will save our relationship which are not losing my temper and not talking to others about or relationship. He apparently doesn't need to change anything about himself or to compromise. He says I am constantly trying to control him. That I ruin holidays, weddings etc with my behaviour.

I think I thnk what he says is rubbish and we both need to work on our relationship together but it so very hard to know what to do next. I have lost my gut reactions as this has been going on for a while. I never thought I would leave the father of my children but I don't think I can stay in a situation where we never resolve anything plus I don't believe this is all my fault.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Feb-14 12:20:01

It's difficult to see how you overcome this very deep incompatibility, especially if one party thinks they are faultless and if they've dismissed the idea of external counselling. I'm also sorry to say that a lot of what you describe sounds like emotional manipulation and even bullying, on his part.... sulking/silent treatment, criticism, belittling your feelings. I'm always very suspicious of people who accuse others of controlling them when they seem to be the ones doing the controlling. A deflection tactic.

It sounds very frustrating and I can see why you'd lose your temper. Glad you're getting counselling.

Joysmum Thu 13-Feb-14 13:31:16

I feel for you. This reminds me if the early days with my DH. He never was one to be deep, I like to analyse everything. We've had to find a compromise which meant both of us adjusting.

It worked for us because we both wanted it to and were prepared to try being different. If one or both if us wasn't, we'd have split up because it bought out the worst in both of us. Being with somebody should make both of us better people, not worse.

Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 14:22:13

thank you both. Yes, I had hoped love might overcome different approaches to life and I still believe that, but I cannot keep going when he says he won't do anything to resolve our problems. I used to feel upset about how sad he would be if I left but last night having been told that everything is my fault for nth time I realised that he is chosing not to compromise for a reason I don't understand but that it is a choice of his. His parents went through a terrible divorce which he is adamant does not affect our relationship but its so sad to see this go the same way!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Feb-14 14:25:27

"I had hoped love might overcome different approaches to life "

Love is in the way someone speaks, relates and behaves towards you. It's not something abstract in isolation. Love can only overcome differences therefore if it translates into action. Refusing to resolve problems, belittling your concerns, dismissing offers of counselling, sulking and withdrawing etc... that's not loving behaviour.

Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 14:50:13

Yes, I think I know that but you always hope they'll realise how important this is to get right. That our children will learn from how we behave towards each other and see sense but I think last night I realised that he doesn't allow himself to think about those things because beign 'right' is more important to him. It takes a long time to get to the point where you can distance yourself from them but I have realised how self interested he has become. I also think that he needs to recognise this and I haven't been able to get through to him. you can't help but think you've failed a bit but if a friend of mine told me that they'd been experiencing this plus heavy drinking etc I'd tell them to get going.

ageofgrandillusion Thu 13-Feb-14 14:52:53

That I ruin holidays, weddings etc with my behaviour.
What behaviour? What is he saying you do?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Feb-14 14:57:09

" I also think that he needs to recognise this and I haven't been able to get through to him"

Has it occurred to you that he understands everything just fine but is choosing to behave in this selfish way because it gets him what he wants?

Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 15:04:28

but what does he want? a fully compliant wife? ie not me!!! why does he want that?

ageofgrandillusion Thu 13-Feb-14 15:06:09

Yes but OP, what are you doing that pisses him off so much? Give some examples. Are you really controlling?

Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 15:08:05

on the way to the wedding I tried to make conversation in the car which probably sounded a bit strained becauase we'd been going through a bad patch. He said I was being trivial and irrelevant and was I so insecure that I couldn't sit in silence. On holiday he upset me by being rude and me making a fuss ruined the holiday for EVERYONE! I even ruined a weekend when friends were staying by letting the dog run in from the garden covered in mud. I didn't stop her in time. I also made the mistake of laughing about it. I've just realised how ridiculous all of this sounds!

Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 15:10:18

In terms of control, I def nag him about drinking which he does every night especially as we've been arguing a lot and I don't think arguing and drinking go together very well. I also nag about money as although I work part time I have to bail him out quite frequantly as he never has a penny saved. so yes, I imagine I have annoyed him a lot about those sorts of things but I feel like he isn't taking responsibility for our situation very well.

Jan45 Thu 13-Feb-14 15:29:15

You are right, I've just split from my partner for similar, if you can't sit down and work things out and come to a compromise that makes you both happy, honestly, you're flogging a dead horse. There is nothing worse than your partner ignoring or refusing to engage with you over something you feel very strongly about, if you don't have that connection anymore, honestly, what's the point.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Feb-14 15:29:22

"but what does he want?"

He wants someone on the back foot, wondering where things are going wrong, anxious to resolve problems and save the relationship ... which will take the focus off the real problem which is that he is a miserable arse, crap with money, drinking too much, not taking responsibility etc. All the time he is throwing these things back at you about muddy dogs, strained conversations and accusations of ruining everything, you're defending yourself rather than challenging him. It's deflection.

I'm very certain that you are not compliant at all smile and you seem very strong, self-aware and I'm glad you have retained your sense of humour. But I'm equally certain that you are not yourself when you are with him. He may not have crushed your spirit but he will have caused you to modify your behaviour.

Joysmum Thu 13-Feb-14 15:36:39

I'm glad you realise how trivial his complaints are and how ridiculous his reaction to them. In a couple for which love conquers all, even a couple who are indifferent to each other, nothing you've mentioned would lead to the reactions you've received!

As far as the insecure observation from him went, when my DH saw I was insecure, he didn't blame me or get angry, he helped me to see I didn't need to be. That's because he loves me enough to do so.

Middledaughter Thu 13-Feb-14 15:56:56

Thanks for some truly helpful advice. I think I am set on saying he must get individual counselling or we separate. I have a semi important birthday coming up and I refuse to feel like this for much longer!

SolidGoldBrass Thu 13-Feb-14 16:49:22

DOn't waste time or money on the counselling, just end the relationship and put him out of the house.
You are married to a man who hates women. It's all classic abuser behaviour - his intention is to crush you and 'train' you to accept that he is your boss and your owner and must always be obeyed. Counselling will not change this attitude of his.
IF you add a drink problem to the fact that he's an abusive man, this marriage is just going to get worse. Sooner or later, he'll start hitting you, possibly sexually assaulting you because in his eyes you are not human. You're somewhere between a household appliance and a pet that needs to be 'taught its place'.

ageofgrandillusion Thu 13-Feb-14 16:53:10

That's why i asked for details OP. Because when you write down examples it often highlights how ridiculous things are. He's cock-muncher, end of. LTB.

sykadelic Thu 13-Feb-14 19:17:45

I'm of the opinion that you should never resort to personal attacks. If in your relationship you're calling the other names it's because you really don't like them.

Re some of your examples:
- You were talking. It annoyed him. Rather than tell you it annoyed him, YOU were insecure by not sitting in silence.
- On holiday he was rude and it upset you. Rather than acknowledge that he was rude and that's why you were upset, YOU were unreasonable for being upset and YOU ruined the holiday. This would only make sense if you were over-reacting and went on and on and on about it AFTER he apologised for doing it wrong/being rude
- The dog ran in from the garden covered in mud. You laughed about it. Neither he nor you were able to stop the dog in time. This was YOUR fault and you were unreasonable for finding it funny

When you look at the situations it's pretty clear he finds you completely irritating no matter what you do. Therefore to him, it makes no sense for him to see a counsellor because you're the irritating one...

You nag him about drinking and about money. From that he's a drunk and bad with money. These are apparently also your failings. You also need to ignore his drinking and remember your place.

Seriously though, it seems to me like he's got some self esteem issues and you nagging him has him unable to defend those things, and instead is trying to find fault with you in every other situation. He thinks that if he points out YOUR failings enough you'll ignore his and he can live a happy life drunk and broke with his part-time employed wife supporting him.

If he is unwilling to change, unwilling to acknowledge he even has issues or problems he needs to work on, I do think this is the end of your relationship. You getting stronger thanks to counselling won't help his agenda and if you start to fire back more and call him on his bullshit, no doubt he'll start insulting the counsellor and expect you to change and still tell you you're wrong, or he'll leave. Without his willingness to change, it's not going to get better.

I'm sorry. Stay strong and remember, even if you WERE irritating, there are much better ways to handle it. He's being unsupportive and mean.

Middledaughter Wed 05-Mar-14 22:07:34

So I am still where I was but with a break for a while because he's away with work for a fortnight. I honestly feel relieved and happy to have the house to myself with the kids.

Things have continued to be difficult. There are no go areas when it comes to discussion which if I bring up I know will unleash the full wrath. 'You f***ing tw*t what exactly do you mean by that, explain it to me etc' Sometimes I think I mention things to remind myself of how awful his reactions can be a bit like a justification for leaving if I do. But the other night I went to bed feeling a bit scared for the first time a bit like it had gone too far.

I've been to a few counselling sessions now. He is still refusing to come with me. From that I've learned that sometimes to keep on trying isn't always the best plan. She asked me what I am getting from our marriage and other than practical help with the kids and house I couldn't think of anything.

Before he left on his work trip he tried it on and I said a very firm no. I felt bad as he was going away but would have felt worse if I had after how he's been behaving recently. In the past I would have done in the hope it would patch things up. It's so difficult to go into detail here as you always think someone will know who you are.

Thing is I am very scared of leaving. The logistics and horribleness terrify me and I know he'll be devastated. I have a very supportive family and his aren't around much. He is a good Dad - I'd feel so bad splitting this up but I am miserable, I've told him this but nothing seems to change and need to know that something will get better.

HowLongIsTooLong Wed 05-Mar-14 23:19:31

Firstly, if he called you a f****ing tw*t I am sure you realise this is absolutely unacceptable? It would be offensive coming from anyone, but your bloody husband? Not being patronising, by the way, I am sure you feel deeply upset by it, but I know from sorry experience that sometimes one can get so lost and embroiled in the mess of a relationship which isn´t working, one loses track of what is normal, when the line has been crossed etc. Look at you worrying about how devastated he will be if you leave him, when he does not seem to care how upset you are about things which are important to you.
The fact you don´t want to be physically intimate is totally understandable. I am sure he reached out to you sexually to "normalize" things so he can carry on as he was, as well as to fulfil his needs.
I am sure he just does not get how serious things are.

I think the situation where he shuts down and refuses to discuss things which are important to you, is sad and awful, but I don´t necessarily agree with what Cogito seems to be suggesting, that it is some deliberate kind of tactic or strategy. It might just be that he is incapable of being sensitive to your needs, or trying to empathise, because he is too self-centred/emotionally stunted and is in total denial (e.g. about drink problem).

Unfortunately the outcome for you is the same though. If he is not able to meet you halfway you are really flogging a dead horse. He can still be a great Dad living separately from you (though being a great Dad may be tested if the children "demand" too much of him) and you can get your self-worth back and the kids will not be exposed to the shitty way he seems to be treating you. There´s nothing worse than living with someone who does not care for or respect you. Have been there.
If you really don´t want to leave I would give him a very clear ultimatum.
But from what you have described I really don´t think he has it in him to make any meaningful changes.
You could also read Should I Stay or Should I Go by Lundy Bancroft. That gives good insight into what a loving relationship should look and feel like. The basics of respect and care.

livingzuid Thu 06-Mar-14 01:03:05

Wow op I read this and wondered why you stayed with a man who didn't appreciate you or even wish to engage with you over simple issues. As one reads on it becomes clear he is abusive towards you. Swearing at you like that simply isn't on. As for having a go at you about the dog? What is that about? He belittles you over even the most straightforward behaviour.

He is NOT a good father if he treats the mother of his children that way. Children know when something isn't right. They see their mother being treated like this. What kind of environment do you want to provide for them, a loving, happy and supportive one or this?

I understand it can feel overwhelming but focus on breaking it down into what you need to do. One day you could seek legal advice and another day research your finances. Just get the information together on how you will manage things on his own.

You can leave. You will manage just fine. The children will be fine. Let him be devastated, he's caused this situation. You deserve better and you can do better than this man. thanks

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Mar-14 07:20:12

"need to know that something will get better"

When you've either exhausted or dismissed the usual ways to make a relationship better - conversation, counselling, common aims, reconnecting etc - and when threats and ultimatums aren't even breaking the stalemate, then I think the only way something will get better is if you create it for yourself. Energy used trying to mend things would probably be better spent on preparing yourself for a new independent life. It wouldn't be selfish or 'giving up' or 'walking away' in the circumstances

Theoldhag Thu 06-Mar-14 07:41:22

Hi middle, if I were you in your situation I would start planning my exit, even if it wasn't followed thru for now.

He sounds like an abusive man, you do not have to live with this, nore let it become the template that your children are likely to use in terms of their future adult relationships.

rainbowsmiles Thu 06-Mar-14 08:21:23

I would also be planning an exit. Why should anyone put up with that. The drinking in itself is reasonable grounds for leaving. And sadly the alcohol is probably the root of all the other issues, low level depression, irritability and inability to view things clearly.

Also, if kids are seeing him drink all the time he is increasing the likelihood of them having drink problems.

If he has no intention of giving up drinking then he leaves you with no choice.

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