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WWYD - DP's behaviour

(20 Posts)
shoppingfrenzy Mon 26-May-14 10:05:32

So on Friday I wanted to talk to DP about a counselling session I had that day. It was a difficult conversation to start, I had found the session exhausting, but wanted to share. DP had previously said he was happy to chat.

Conversation went like this:

Me: I saw X today and had a really tough session. Can we talk about it?
DP: [turns on TV]
Me: [stares at him in shock that he's turned on Have I got News for You]
DP: Well, are you going to talk then?
Me: are you going to turn the TV off?
DP: Well, you said you wanted to talk, but then you didn't say anything, so what must I do?

And so on. I didn't talk, he didn't tur n the TV off.

I felt shit, ignored, rejected, I cried. It was a knackering day, & all I had wanted was to be able to tell DP what had happened in the session.

This is the first time I've tried to talk about my sessions, which have concentrated on our relationship, our kids (we both have kids from previous relationships), and my break up with exH which was traumatic and has left me with some deep seated hurt that I am dealing with. We have had counselling together, and that counsellor suggested I would benefit from more. DP was supportive of this.

We haven't really spoken since. He has never been v good at communicating or talking about anything emotional, but this really shocked me.

I think I may LTB. Or rather ask TB to leave.


Trollsworth Mon 26-May-14 10:07:07

I think you're just feeling a bit raw from the counselling. I would advise more counselling before deciding to end a relationship over a squabble.

sooperdooper Mon 26-May-14 10:14:24

If that's the first time you've tried to talk, and you know he's not particularly good at talking about emotions then you need to try again. I think leaving him over this is unnecessary

something2say Mon 26-May-14 10:14:38

I would separate out the issues as well.

Your partner can never heal you. Maybe he is bored with hearing about stuff which is yours to deal with. Maybe he has been overloaded.

So separate it off from him.

However, from there, a very stern thought must be given to a man who, when asked to listen to his partner is distress, turns on the TV and is obnoxious. I mean who does he think he is?

I'd say that on the whole it is best to have a strong relationship with the self. To be able to resolve ones own issues and not to have to lean overly on others. That is your primary mission I think. And from there, to learn how to choose decent partners.

Don't talk to him about this, just do your counselling healing work by yourself and stop asking for his support.

APlaceInTheWinter Mon 26-May-14 10:16:25

Unless your counselling session led you to think you should LTB then I wouldn't LTB on the strength of what you've described in your OP.

He might have thought your initial question was rhetorical hence when you didn't speak, he turned on the tv.

I guess it also depends on what the 'And so on' was.

I get why you were upset and why you felt rejected after making yourself vulnerable but this incident might all have been a misunderstanding. I think too that going to counselling can threaten people close to you as they wonder what you'll say about them and how it will impact on their life if the counselling causes you to change. It's not an ideal response from those close to you but it does happen. To a certain extent it might be worth keeping that in mind but don't let it impact on your decision to go to counselling. Those closest to you should want to help and support you but inevitably counselling changes the status quos in your life and that does impact on everyone.

magoria Mon 26-May-14 10:40:23

What was the counselling you had together for? If it was because the relationship is shit the he doesn't seem to have taken on anything about being there for each other and perhaps it is the the last straw and you should leave him.

It was shitty thing to do when you were clearly upset and wanted his support.

If it is unusual tell him how shitty it was and how he added to your upset.

daisychain01 Mon 26-May-14 11:03:03

Him turning on the TV was definitely a message "I dont want to deal with this stuff". Right or wrong, thats often the way people handle stuff, they bury their head in the TV/sand/book whatever.

I agree with PPs that it may be system overload, rehashing the same themes and best not to bog ach other down. Sometime excessive talking is as bad as not enough, it becomes draining.

I also find that counselling is helpful to the person attending the session, but not helpful and at times out of context to describe it to a third party. If you and he are already doing couples counselling then teling him about your additional sessions isnt the best idea imo

Perhaps if there was maybe one nugget of truth out of the whole session where you feel it was really going to move things forward, a burning issue that your DH could benefit from, then that is worth sharing, as there would be an element of "whats in it for me" and he might be inclined to invest time thinking about it.

I wouldn't give him a completely bad time, take a step back....

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-May-14 11:03:05

I agree with the PP largely. If the counselling is about the relationship and he's not interested enough in the outcome to turn off the TV then that rather suggests you're flogging a dead horse. When you say he was 'supportive' about you having individual counselling might that have been because he sees it as your problem really and not his? Thinks counselling is a bit of a balls-ache/irrelevance? You don't sound particularly compatible either way.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 26-May-14 11:08:06

I agree with something2say. Your DP might have been previously happy to share but he has the right to change his mind. I agree that you need to make yourself happy and whole and you have a counsellor to help you with this. It isn't your DP's job to do this OP and just as he needs to respect that you want to talk, you need to respect that he doesn't want to hear about your sessions. Do you have other friends that you can speak to about your counselling sessions?

daisychain01 Mon 26-May-14 11:12:13

Cogito, reading shopping's OP it suggests the individual sessions are less relevant to her DP.

This is the first time I've tried to talk about my sessions, which have concentrated on our relationship, our kids (we both have kids from previous relationships), and my break up with exH which was traumatic and has left me with some deep seated hurt that I am dealing with.

i say "less relevant" reservedly but, being objective, I dont think its fair to say the DH isnt bothered, its just that there is a whole load of other issues as well, thats what I think is over-load and it could become too much for an individual to sort out, hence the need for the additional sessions.

in fairness, we don't have sufficient info from shopping to know the connections between her relationship issues with her DH and all the other matters, so we aren't qualified to judge that the DH isnt bothered and that they are incompatible are we?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-May-14 11:22:58

He turned on the TV rather than talk about his own relationship with the OP. That's not a man who is fully engaged. Once a relationship has to be brought in front of a counsellor it is, almost by definition in trouble. The OP feels 'shit, ignored, rejected' and mentions that he doesn't talk about emotions - something she clearly needs to do. That's a fairly glaring incompatibility.

Yes, I think there's enough information to make a few judgements.

shoppingfrenzy Mon 26-May-14 11:23:56

Thanks. I have told him how shitty it was.

I get that the sessions are about me, not him. I also get that he may be concerned that I talk about him in them. I also understand that he doesn't want or need to be burdened with my issues. However he has asked me whether I wanted to talk previously, and then when I did, he made it impossible.

Unfortunately this isn't the first time I've asked for support and it has been refused. He is not good at emotional support, & he freely admits this.

The counselling for us together was to assist with communication. It doesn't seem to have made much difference. sad

shoppingfrenzy Mon 26-May-14 11:24:56

Cogito, I think you are right sadly.

shoppingfrenzy Mon 26-May-14 11:36:58

Daisy, yes the sessions are relevant to me but not all about him. A lot of what I am trying to sort is the hurt from my previous relationship. I don't want that relationship back, but it ripped apart my nuclear family and I am still angry about that.

On the other hand, the counsellor asked me who my support network is. I immediately thought of friends, & didn't mention DP. She wondered why. Maybe my OP is why.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-May-14 11:38:06

I'm currently in a relationship with a man who certainly finds talking about deep emotions uncomfortable. However, his bluff personality has a reassuring quality and - unlike your DP - he will always find time to listen, even if he doesn't really know what to say back beyond 'shall I put on the kettle?'. But sometimes that's all you need, isn't it? To be listened to.

If freely admitting he's not good at emotional support means that he thinks that gives him carte blanche to switch on the TV and tune you out.... I don't think that's the same thing at all.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 26-May-14 11:57:38

I am sure that he switched on the tv as a kind of flak jacket thinking if things got out of hand he could stare at the screen or feign absorption.

Has he ever expressed any positive views about joint counselling? Did he seem supportive or relieved when you said you'd be seeing a counsellor by yourself? Perhaps he is suspicious that this is some sort of fault finding exercise.

I don't necessarily think he meant to block you out. If he gets uncomfortable with talking deeply about sensitive matters he may have hoped counselling would provide you with a listening ear. He may have been relieved at thinking you're accessing help so he's not expected to chip in and risk saying the wrong thing.

As you say it rather defeats the object of looking at how better to communicate, if DP still takes fright when you attempt talking about anything more than trivialities.

tribpot Mon 26-May-14 12:03:21

I also understand that he doesn't want or need to be burdened with my issues.

But he's your partner. Shouldn't he care?

The counselling for us together was to assist with communication. It doesn't seem to have made much difference

Did you address this particular behaviour in counselling? The failure to support, empathise, communicate? I'm assuming you did. Did you ever see a change in his behaviour as a result of the counselling?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 26-May-14 12:11:48

OP... What is your normal conversation like, are you a great talker? I ask because, sometimes my husband has a tendency to talk a lot, for ages, and he doesn't stop. I tend to deal with that by saying, "I have to cook, come and talk to me in the kitchen", so I chop, stir, etc. whilst he's talking and it's great.

My mum goes on and on, without breath. It's exhausting and I feel drained when she stops.

I think I talk not very much really, but enough. I'm more inclined to resolve 'issues' myself, I don't benefit from talking about them really so I don't. I wouldn't relish having to settle in for a 'session' and in a way, I can understand that a partner's heart might sink at the thought of one and, as dismissive as it looks outwardly, switching on the tv is a 'prop', not intended to insult.

I'm sorry that you felt wretched after your session. Is your counsellor any good, do you think? How long have you been having the sessions with him/her? I supposed that it's difficult to swap and change, having already done so much talking with one and not wanting to repeat it all to a new one.

Hissy Mon 26-May-14 12:24:16

'he's never been v good at communicating or talking about anything emotional'


Why do you think now would be any different?

I think you were grossly unfair to offload onto him. Just like that, without any warning.

You need to find a better way to cope, that doesn't burden him.

It may be that your need to communicate is driven by his inability to do so.

To make a go of this under these circumstances, you'll need to structure your support system around that, and not include him in it.

Mumsnet is a good place to offload, or your therapist, but not usually your partner.

I think you should also find a way of being kind to yourself, for yourself on days that you find hard. Making him the key to your happiness won't work, and is grossly unfair on him.

Hissy Mon 26-May-14 12:26:02

Trib, one can care, but when being made responsible for another person's happiness/stability etc, it's not fair.

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