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What about the holiday(39 Posts)
Things have been rocky for a while between myself and dh (together 15 years married 9). We have regular flare ups and instead of walking away we verbally abuse each other. We have made the decision to split on a number of occasions but I have always relented and tried to fix things by setting up counselling, setting ground rules for discussion, getting him to agree to walk away when he is feeling angry etc... but nothing has worked so I am all out of hope and tbh that was what was keeping the relationship going, hope that it would get better, that we could change, that if we loved each other then it couldnt be that hard to change.
Anyway we have agreed to split (although if he honestly came back to me and said that he was willing to take responsibility for his behavior and actions then I would give it another go but he has not done so to date)
We are due to go away on a 3 week holiday next week. We are bringing our 2 children with us and my sd18 is coming over for the middle week. We will be staying with a relative of mine for one week and the place we are staying in belongs to a relative of mine.
I would struggle going on my own with the kids for 3 weeks as I am not as experienced driving on European roads as he would be. I would have to collect sd from an airport 1.5 hours away and would be anxious doing that drive. I would also find it difficult managing our children for 3 weeks out of their environment and I know they would be missing him if he didnt go. They are 6 and 5.
However, I am not looking forward to going on the holiday together as it feels like a pretence if we are splitting up and also I am anxious about a flare up and how it will spoil the holiday for all of us if something does kick of which it inevitablly will.
Anyone either cancelled or gone on holiday in a similar situation and in hindsight what would you advise?
you could frame this holiday as an opportunity for you to both get some space from each other. Perhaps you could leave at the end of the 2nd week and he could arrive and spend the last week with the dcs. Change SDs flight to fit in with that. This is less about not being able to do it by yourself (of course you can) and more about the enormity of what this represents to each of you. I know it is HUGE but for goodness sake, this is not a happy marriage and things should not be THAT hard. Life is tricky, of course but you are describing a good few years of trying every which way and yet nothing is changing. Scary big decisions but on some level you must know what will inevitably happen.
Could you take someone else?
I don't mean another bloke Like a family member or close friend whose company you might actually enjoy and who would help out with the DC?
Then you only have to pay to change the ticket from his name to theirs?
I think three weeks apart is a fantastic opportunity for both of you to spend deciding whether it is worth trying again or not, and what you actually want.
"there is no point leaving one relationship to go on and make the same mistakes or a whole new set in a subsequent relationship"
A life without mistakes would be very short and boring. Everyone makes mistakes. However, you sound fairly self-aware in your posts and the kind of person that might learn from their mistakes. That's all you can ask of yourself.
OP, just because this relationship doesn't work doesn't mean the next one won't, you two cannot communicate properly, you have regular flare ups, nothing gets resolved and the cycle starts up again, in fact I'd say your OH flatly refused to discuss anything on an emotional level.
Wanting it to work and actually making it work are two different things. And, you definitely need more than love to make a relationship work.
You can't make a relationship work single-handed and sometimes you can't even make it work between you. I believe that some people simply bring out the worst in each other. Can be rationalised in the early days of a relationship as 'fiery passion' and you might even think it's very exciting/sexy in that Liz Taylor/Richard Burton dynamic but, over the long-term, it just ends up being destructive. You can analyse and counsel it until the cows come home without changing the fundamentals.
Jan if only my relationship was based on facts then this would be much more straight cut for me. I am clinging on but I am clinging onto my wedding vows which I made and am clinging on to the notion that problems can be solved and that there is no point leaving one relationship to go on and make the same mistakes or a whole new set in a subsequent relationship. So I am trying to do everthing within my reach to work things out.
Cogito yes that fits in with the pattern of how things work. I approach him with an issue or something that is bothering me and I am met with a range of tactics to avoid speaking about it. He has never approached me with an issue in our marriage so I dont believe I do the same. If I was to try and analyse it which I have done many times I would see he is so cut off from the neck down that any attempt to make him connect or acknowledge an emotion that he doesnt want to feel is met with fear and he will do anything to avoid it. I keep prodding until I get a response and when I do it is not the one I want, it leaves me damaged and hurt but he is able to make contact again as he has gotten all his negative emotions out and he is then happy to talk or discuss the situation until it all builds up again.
There's also a point in a bad relationship where you know them well enough to know which buttons to push to get the reaction. He doesn't really like this whole 'walking away when he feels anger rising' bullshit so he picks one of the things on your list to provoke a reaction. You react as predicted... he is then justified in getting angry. You may be doing the same thing.
Nothing normal about being abusive, to anyone!
OP, you clearly do not want to face facts, you two don't work, simple as that. You have made decisions to split on a number of occasions because that's what needs to happen, you're just clinging on for something that wasn't and isn't there.
I know its unacceptable which is why we attended couples counselling, why I attended counselling on my own, why we sat down with our older grown up kids and listened to how it made/makes them feel. We had put things in place to stop it escalating. We agreed that if he felt his anger rising that he would walk away. He did for a bit and we managed to sit down and talk through things afterwards but then he didnt and so I had to call time as that is what I said I would do. I have only ever described as an abusive pattern within our relationship and have always taken 50% of the blame as I do not stand there and take it. But I do not use any of the tactics that he does. I am always trying to get to the bottom of it to get to the other side but I never can. I get frustrated and call him names or put him down but normally after he has tried 5 or 6 different tactics like changing the subject, trying to make an issue out of something that isnt, shutting down emotionally on me, accusing me of doing something, calling me crazy, oversensitve, adding things on to what I said, calling me a liar, comparing me to my parents in relation to traits he knows I dont like about them, critiscising my parenting (thats looks awful typed out)
I see that too, my family is extremely abusive towards one another and I chose a H who was the same, if not worse. However I decided I did not want that for myself or my children. It may be the "norm" but it won't be MY normal. I'd rather never be in a relationship again than have to put up with it.
"We are both quite similar, defensive and reactive. Why are we unable to overcome it? "
Because you are in an entrenched behaviour pattern. He says 'X' and you respond with 'Y'. You even know he's going to say 'X' before he says it and he knows you're going to say 'Y' before the words leave your mouth. It turns into a Punch and Judy show where the script never changes and - with respect - neither of you want change enough to make it happen. You've normalised it as your marriage's 'weak spot' rather than seeing it as unacceptable. You may have described it to others in the past as 'fiery' or 'passionate' or some other euphemism for what it really is but the end result is the same. You can't relate to each other without it descending into verbal abuse. And it makes you unhappy.
I don't think it is desirable but it is certainly normal in alot of cultures/sub cultures/social groups etc...
I see families telling each other to fuck off. It is normal to me.
Charming friends you have
This isn't normal or desirable behaviour. You can tell yourself it is and clearly do, but that doesn't make it so.
But I have high standards in other areas surely all marriages have their weak spots. We don't drink, have addictions, the sex is good, we both contribute equally towards childcare and housework. We both contribute equally towards the finances. We are attracted to each other, we enjoy each others company when we are out and we spend lots of quality time together. Neither of us has ever been faithful. Its just this one area. We are both quite similar, defensive and reactive. Why are we unable to overcome it? Why have we not learned how to? And why would it be any different in a future relationship. If I can sort it in this one when my family is at stake then what hope have I in a future relationship and how do I know that I would not just be swapping one flaw for a different one?
Trust in yourself. Had European camping holiday booked with friends and STBXH when he announced he was leaving, so I took the kids without him rather than them miss out. Meant a 6 hour drive to the ferry (had never driven that far, only 2-3 hours before) then 2 hours drive to campsite and driving on the wrong side of the road for a fortnight with no other adult in the car and no personal experience of driving abroad, but I did it.
I did spend about the first 15-20 minutes uttering a low pitched scream (kids watching DVDs thankfully with headphones on) and again on the first massive! roundabout, but got through in one piece :-)
You don't know until you try, and I surprised myself.
Having said that, I would never agree to go away with my ex, even for my kids.
I would tell him not to come, and depending on your relationship with sd18, cancel her too/decide when you are there if you feel confident to get her yourself.
Go, enjoy a lovely time with your kids and see how much you surprise yourself x good luck
"Why can I not normalise something that is normal? "
Two wrongs don't make a right Just because others do it, doesn't mean we have to follow them into the gutter. Perhaps work on setting higher personal standards or risk repeating the same destructive dynamic in your next relationship.
antimatter my aunt will collect us from the airport. She will stay on for a week and then we were to drop her back. A few days later my sd was due to arrive and we would collect her from a different airport in a different country and drop her back there a week later. Then we would leave my aunts car at our airport when we were going home.
See Jan I see people verbally abusing people everyday I hear people swearing at strangers in traffic jams, I see families telling each other to fuck off. It is normal to me. I have had friends say things that were abusive whether through drink or getting to caught up in their own point of view. Why can I not normalise something that is normal? Just because it is abhorent to you does not mean that it does not happen in lots of relationships.
I do agree that it isnt workin and I do agree that nothing is changing. There is a certain amount of fear but I dont think that is why I have stayed in the relationship. I have stayed because I believed we could change our behavior it is still really annoying me that we couldnt. I also agree in relation to the dissatisfaction which is increasing as my hope has decreased.
if this is the country you are coming from why not asking someone to arrange lifts for you?
they can pick you up from the airport, do some shopping on the way for heavy items
then the same on the way out
is that possible?
And I agree with everything Jan45 says. Very wise words.
can I just ask why you say that the relationship has been over for a long time?
Because you wrote this at the start of your OP:
Things have been rocky for a while between myself and dh (together 15 years married 9). We have regular flare ups and instead of walking away we verbally abuse each other. We have made the decision to split on a number of occasions.
If you've got as far as agreeing to split on 'a number of occasions' then your relationship has been pretty bad for a while. My DH and I have been through some hard times, and we've had some pretty nasty shouting matches, but we've never even come close to agreeing to split.
OP, all those times you and your partner have agreed to split, over and over again - there's a reason for that - it isn't working, the reason you are still together is out of fear of being on your own not because you are sorting anything out, the status quo will remain, and so will your dissatisfaction at the relationship.
Sorry OP but you can never normalise verbal abuse, or any abuse, if that's what you have been used to then it's about time you found a partner where it didn't happen, I bet you don't verbally abuse strangers or your friends, it's a direct result of a relationship that is not working. Go on holiday with your kids, you will manage, have space between the two of you, it will do you both the world of good.
You can have a trial separation rather than a complete end, you will be surprised at how well you can think when on your own.
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