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success stories with counselling? or just positive change stories?

(27 Posts)
OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 17:28:48

I would like to hear from people whose relationships have been changed for the better - maybe following counselling? or maybe just through change.

Have men who don't listen ever started listening? I'm imagining maybe a counsellor or some other changed dynamic making things go in somehow, or anything

Have men ever started doing more housework? My p does a lot of childcare, I work much longer hours than him, but he thinks he is a hero for the childcare and doesn't really bother with housework.

Sex. has anyone restored sex to a sexless relationship?

The resentment is building. it goes in waves. sometimes I talk myself into things being fine. sometimes I am just fucking furious and I look at myself and think: is this my life? and literally feel suicidal, with boredom and rage.

I suggested counselling, he sort of shrugged and said "if you organise it." This alone makes me not have great hopes for his engagement when / if we get there. (I have no idea how to organise childcare.)

Background: in theory I quite like him, when he makes the effort and engages he is the kind of person I like to spend time with and have a conversation with. In practice I am so fucked off with him that I forget this for weeks on end. he is dismissive and silent a lot of the time. We sleep separately, originally because of his snoring but now I think we both prefer it. I have suggested sex twice over the past few weeks. Once he laughed at me, once he just said no.

I gave up drinking 6 weeks ago and now I need to go on a diet. These things are partly fuelling the piquance of my fury. I think, because I was using them to bury my feelings. Sex in particular has returned with a vengeance, I am feeling pretty healthy which is good in many ways but damn it is fucking inconvenient to be a sexual being in a sexless relationship (at least if I was single I could dream!)

we have two children 6 and 4

Any positive stories? I am feeling very blue about it all at the moment. Dreading time away this summer in close proximity. really feeling a bit ill with dread

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 17:39:55

ok he just asked if I was ok. I said not really and said I feel sad. He looks completely mystified and rather irritated. I said " we can't talk now" meaning the dcs are just in the next room having their tea. I have no idea how to approach this. I know from experience that he is not remotely susceptible to the idea that, if I feel bad, it could have anything to do with things he does or doesn't do, or that he could do anything about it.

I think I might have framed this all wrong in my head. I feel like there are things he should do, that when you are in a relationship there is a way to behave and he isn't doing it. Maybe it s not that at all. Maybe it's just that I am unhappy because we are incompatible. We might be incompatible in ways that make me unhappy but not him. or he might be unhappy but not somehow care as much. I don't know. but he doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 18:44:42

is anyone reading this? would really appreciate any comments

Orrelly Sun 21-Jun-15 18:55:11

I am. I think you need to sit him down and stress that you want a deep and meaningful conversation. Try and persist even if he doesn't seem receptive to it at first. . Some people need a bit of a jolt to the system before they'll sit up and take notice of what's happening around them. Lots of your post could've been written by my ex. I just wish I'd opened my eyes sooner.

I'm hoping that you get some positive responses to this thread but it's pretty much a given that you will be instructed to leave this bastard straight away.

I hope for all of your sakes that you find a solution to this.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 19:06:08

Thank you for replying Orrelly. Do you mind telling me a bit more about your situation? if that is ok?
I am picking up on "I just wish I'd opened my eyes sooner" and attaching unreasonable hope that this means that .... it matters what I do, that I can change things

hope you are ok?

cheapskatemum Sun 21-Jun-15 19:15:08

I'm reading, OhSo. One thing that struck me in your post is that DCs are young and need a lot from parents at their ages. So, two things about that really, DH's side of things might be that he contributes a lot to the relationship by doing more childcare. Also, things might improve when DCs grow older and more independent. One thing counselling will probably address is communication.

PoppyField Sun 21-Jun-15 19:29:10

Sorry you're having a rough time OP. And yes you definitely need a serious conversation with your partner/H (?).

It is extremely frustrating that your suggestion about counselling gets such a limp response. Doesn't sound great. Perhaps you need to find out what suggestions he has to solve the problems in your marriage, if counselling doesn't appeal to him. Presumably you are both agreed that your relationship has problems? Obviously you still want to try to do something, but you can't do this on your own.

Your list of what is wrong is pretty long. I think his sexual rejection of you is very harsh and it hurts. He doesn't sound very kind. Or respectful.

Your post seems mostly concerned about him and his response to you and whether he is even bothered that you are miserable and down. Er... of course he should be bothered! And of course someone who loves you should be concerned f you are miserable, angry and depressed - especially if it is related to their behaviour.

Why don't you say you would like to schedule a constructive conversation about how you can both work to make life better between you both. Try and be as practical as possible. You could both draw up a list of things to be addressed. And both ideas to the table for how your life as a couple and, consequently as a family, can be improved.

If he refuses to see that there's anything wrong, or that its anything to do with him...or just blames you for everything... then that tells you something anyway. And you really need to know what he thinks, what he considers to be an acceptable family life and what he would consider to be a more-than acceptable family life. I would say that mutual respect, affection, listening to each other, a loving sexual relationship, enjoying your children together, fair division of labour etc etc. would be a good start.

I would also consider counselling on your own. Not as a challenge to him, but it sounds to me that it might be useful to you because you sound emotionally drained and it would help you work out what you want in life.

PoppyField Sun 21-Jun-15 19:30:42

Orrelly you sound a bit jaded about MN.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 19:33:26

Thanks cheapskate. I think you are right in that the dcs do take a lot of energy and he is to a large extent the one putting that in.

I am just crazy with no one to talk to. i oscillate wildly in minutes between

- this is unbearable, I am so unhappy, I need to get a solicitor and just start the process of getting out, I need to get out of all this

- I can stand it till the dcs are grown up. My life is basically on hold but so what I gave up my life when I had chlidren

- surely we can fix this. What can I do to fix this? (then I buy loads of relationship self help books on kindle)

- I could just have an affair or some one night stands or something, he would never know (don't worry this is definitely not going to happen)

- it is good to want sex, it means I am coming alive again, I have been dead in so many ways for so long, surely this is something to feel good about even if you can't actually have any sex

Sleeping apart is all that makes my life tolerable, I feel sick with panic about being locked up in a room on holiday, it will be hot, he will be snoring, I will be mad with frustration

I was like this when I was self harming

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 19:44:04

Poppy, x-posted

I don't know if he thinks there is a problem. Sometimes he seems really surprised when I suggest that I'm not happy. But a few momths ago he got really upset and said he was lonely and we don't talk enough.

I was so surprised because I get the impression that I am basically in his way a lot of the time. I misunderstand his conversation starters (I now see) because they are things like "what are you reading" which (I now understand) is supposed to start a conversation about books and ideas. But I tend to feel a bit challenged and judged by it and deflect it, or lie (if I am reading a tragic self help book on my kindle, because I expect to be laughed at). We talked a little about a certain author yesterday and he said he can't bear him and thinks he is an arrogant fool. This is the sort of thing I can find unreasonably hurtful, and it doesn't lead to a good conversation about why I am reading him, if I am reading him. Trying to talk myself out of this funk I think he has no idea he is closing the conversatino down when he does this. He is just giving his opinion of the author we are talking about and that is, in his mind, how conversations happen.

He lies on the sofa with the back of his head to the door, and doesn't look round when I come into the room, which forces me to sit on the other seats in the room, which are behind his head, so when he doesn't move he is choosing to sit with his back to me. If I speak he answers in monosyllables if at all. how am I supposed to know he actually wants to talk to me for heaven's sake?

I asked him to stop doing that the other day. I thought it was a really good precise request: not "love me!" which is impossible, but a very precise simple thing I could calmly say makes me feel bad. he said he doesn't do it. He just denied that it has ever happened (probably because when you outline it like that it is definitely rude, and because he has no intentino of being rude he refuses to believe that he ever actually is (unintentionally) rude)

mistymeanour Sun 21-Jun-15 19:46:43

Does he realize how hacked off you are? Is he someone who sticks his head in the sand about problems ? He may think it will all go away if he ignores it - so it will be up to you to decide on a time to have a proper sit down talk. Use a low, calm tone if you can and put your concerns forward about how "you feel". He needs to understand how much trouble the relationship is in and you need to judge his response. He needs to want to work on things and to stop being so disrespectful as to laugh at the offer of sex.

MrsO1980 Sun 21-Jun-15 19:52:45

Ohso, I'm in a very similar situation, I empathise with the way you are feeling. It's very frustrating to think the loving amazing man you chose to have children with has become so out of tune (and bland - maybe just the way I feel) with you. I calmly discussed divorce to be met with 'you 're giving up, fine.' I find this shocking but he has done nothing to change his behaviour. I feel like screaming 'I'm not bloody dead yet!!!' But know even if I do I probably won't get much of a response. Hope you are ok, it really is poo isn't it?!

thatsnotmynamereally Sun 21-Jun-15 19:55:26

Ohso have you had counselling for the self harming? I wonder if you could do with a non-judgemental person to talk to, having DCs at that age is unrelenting, I seem to recall.

I just wanted to say, from my perspective (and I'm not a good one to give advice, as I'm still in an abusive marriage) the one session that we did with an abuse-aware counsellor was really enlightening. I know that H won't 'hear' anything I say, he tunes me put, but the session we had was great because we were talking to the counsellor not to each other, when the counsellor said back what I was saying to H he actually heard it, ie he heard clearly that he was not considering anyone but himself and his own needs. and the counsellor was a man so he didn't immediately discount it I know the (correct) advice is to avoid relationship counselling if you are in an abusive relationship but I found it useful, as the counsellor put it, to 'name' the problem. I'm not sure if we're going to continue as I'm struggling to divorce him now and he doesn't want to, but I got a lot out of that session. So, not a good news story, but perhaps? I'd avoid Relate as I had a totally mediocre experience with the counsellor telling me to consider his feelings hmm

Deckthehallswithdesperation Sun 21-Jun-15 20:08:27

My dh used to say 'if you've got a problem then that's you're problem'. After a year he changed it to 'I can see we have a problem'. I did counselling on my own (he wouldn't come). In the end there's less & less of you left in the marriage & eventually you snap. It's so sad but it's a very common story. You hear it again & again on MN. I know from my own experience it takes a long time to really get your head around the horrors of leaving but if you're flogging a dead horse it's sooo worth it. I closed my eyes for 12 bloody years with catastrophic consequences. I left it a good 10yrs too long. Wishing you strength op.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 20:16:06

Sorry to hear that MrsO1980.
Are you going to go ahead with the divorce? Do you have children?

Misty no, he has no idea. I sometimes wonder if he is depressed. he has a tough routine, is not excited or challenged by work, does not go out much and I think he needs a break or something fun. He is really tired at the moment.

Usually when I try to talk he will leave the room. he has many well established methods of closing down a conversation and that is the least worst option.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 20:21:48

I know all isn't right with me as well anyway. I am confused about how much is me being off and how much is this relationship. I know he thinks - completely believes - that everything is down to me being mentally ill.

The truth is I am never happy for long. Maybe there is no point trying to cast about for something to fix. I might as well just check out of any expectations and do what I need to do to survive for the girls.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 20:35:22

ok so breaking it down

- lonely. I have good friends that I could spend more time with. The reason I don't is because I feel guilty being out after work leaving P to do everything. But I could just pick a reasonable number of times I could go out and say, this is fair, you can go out equivalent times (he won't but I wish he would)

- sex. Does anyone actually have a vibrator and do they make you feel better, or do you just want sex more? I have been eating a lot recently and I have to go on a diet, this may make it easier too, being hungry all the time might cut it back down.

- communication. Nothing. he will never listen to me. I can have other friends but there is nothing I can do about this. When the girls are grown up I can decide what to do but for now I can just lower my expectations.

- holidays. There is nothing to be done about this summer except get through it. After this we can holiday separately.

- life. Emotions. Happiness. Feelings. Nothing to be done about this.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 20:36:49

- Birthdays. Mine is in September, his is in December so I can tell him now / soon that we aren't doing birthdays any more. Last year his birthday was horrific and I cried on Friday getting nervous about the next one.

evelynj Sun 21-Jun-15 20:50:41

I went to relate & it was great. We split up down the line but I think it helped us learn a lot about ourselves. However I'm in a similar situation, dh doesn't drive & therefore doesn't do a lot of tasks or make any suggestions for days out etc. I'm planning to go to counselling alone as I'm frustrated with my sporadic frustration & anger buildup about it. It sounds like you've got some big issues that you need to look at together, maybe you could speak to a few & see if there's someone you like the sound of to meet, or ask him if he wants to pi where to go. Wishing you luck

kidks Sun 21-Jun-15 21:11:34

OhSo, I recognise some of what you are going through. I am trying to get my DH to relate. I think we are in an abusive relationship -not sure how we got here but 15 years on here we are. The problems are so subtle but there all the time. We cannot communicate at all and I think that is the problem for most marital breakdowns. I think you should go to counselling. Given what you have said I think it's probably pointless in trying to deal yourself as you just aren't listening to each other. I know someone who went to relate to break up with her DH but to do it in the best way possible. As for me, we have had another row today and DH has said he is leaving tonight (Father's Day with 3 DCs - nice). He won't, he never does -shame. You are not alone. X

scallopsrgreat Sun 21-Jun-15 21:34:14

Wow this sounds so miserable Ohso. And such hard work. Relationships shouldn't be like this.

"...but for now I can just lower my expectations." Dear goddesses! Please don't. Please find someone who will meet those expectations. They really aren't unreasonable.

Your H isn't engaging at all, in fact he is stonewalling you (which is abusive behaviour).

"he has many well established methods of closing down a conversation and that is the least worst option."
"Last year his birthday was horrific and I cried on Friday getting nervous about the next one."

Both these are incredibly worrying statements. What are the other options for him closing down conversations and why was is birthday so horrific? You know that crying about an event six months beforehand is really not a good sign (or normal in a healthy relationship).

I'm not sure how much more you can do. Perhaps make a concerted effort to tell him how unhappy you are. But if he won't talk/address the issues then counselling will be useless. Counselling for yourself may be useful but I suspect most of your issues will go away once you are out of an unhappy relationship.

pallasathena Sun 21-Jun-15 21:49:17

You both sound tired, fed up and overwhelmed.

Have a go at finding positives rather than negatives. If you constantly focus on what's wrong, you can't see stuff that's right in your life and there are positives - you just need to see them.

Then there's the 'fake it till you make it,' approach.

If you reframe the narrative, find some positives, try and like each other, remember why you got together, had two beautiful children together and promised to love each other all that time ago, just maybe you can both find the spark to reconnect.

But you have to be kind to each other. It won't work without kindness and respect.

OhSoNamechanged Sun 21-Jun-15 22:18:09

Scallops and PAllas, the juxtaposition of your two very reasonable posts is exactly how I feel! Day to day, or many times within a day, I flip between one and the other position with dizzying speed. Both are reasonable. I don't know which one is talking to me more.

Sometimes he talks about the sad lonely lot of the single middle aged man. The small flat, the lonely evenings, the emptiness etc. As if he has dodged a bullet .Yet I think quite wistfully sometimes of (a completely rose-tinted version of) being single: having dcs some nights, all cosy and fun and without the CONSTANT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE fatigue, and every other weekend they wouldn't be there and you coudl go out and stay over at friends and go out the next day for coffee and go to exhibitions and hang out like you used to when you were young... in the summer holidays you could each take them away at different times, so they would get twice as much summer holiday.... in real life of course there wouldn't be as much money so maybe you couldn't take them away at all, maybe you could only afford a crummy flat, maybe you would cry solidly every other Christmas for 4 whole days.... I don't know, but the funny thing is, he seems to think being single is terrible and yet he seems to be the one who is happy to sleep walk into it while I am the one going on about counselling and buying self help books and so on. He can't really think being single woudl be that bad, can he?

mistymeanour Sun 21-Jun-15 22:22:56

OhI hear you about avoiding communication. My DP used to take off for the evening if I had arranged "a talk" and if I ambushed him would claim he was having a panic attack. My DP was depressed and it was only when I said I thought he should leave to "get some headspace" that he agreed to see the GP and a psychotherapist and start getting some help. Some people (on here sometimes) claim that depressed people need to crawl under the duvet and become very needy with their partner and that comtemptuous comments or apathy are someone being a twat pure and simple. However, it can sometimes be a manifestation of depression - but your DH would need a diagnosis.

I found the depression fallout book by Anne Sheffield and the associated messageboard useful. I also found the Lundy Bancroft book "Should I stay or should I go" extremely helpful (although not the exercises) in learning how to take care of myself and how to recognise sustained change as opposed to placating behaviour and also in setting my boundaries.

Your DH needs to want to get help for himself, so go out and live your live. Detach emotionally - go out with your friends and have fun, don't sit in the living room with no contact - watch the films, TV shows etc you want on a laptop with headphones and just really go out and enjoy spending time with your DC.

As regards sex - take care of yourself. With depression sex is often the first thing to go and the last to return (it takes emotional safety and a total forgiveness/lack of resentment for it to be good again , I think)

If you can afford it or get it through work please get some counselling for yourself so that you can vent and have someone mirror what you say and help you clarify your thoughts.

evelynj Sun 21-Jun-15 23:09:37

If you can try to detach the emotion & look at from a logical PoV when talking to him, be almost blasé & light-hearted about it, he may find it less frightening. If I start with a seemingly happy mood & make some food or drinks, and say 'I reckon we need to have a think about x & maybe trying some different things...what do you think?'

It's easy to feel hurt by every little thing when you're in a vulnerable position, but it's important to be able to be honest with each other so try not to get too defensive by anything negative he may point out & show concern & ask how he thinks you can help. It's so much easier to have a productive conversation when someone feels you're not against them. If you feel you're getting too emotional, ask to park it there for the evening & come back to it tomorrow. Think through all the simplest options first-stay together,split up amicably, childcare logics etc. logically, what's the very worst tht would happen from going to counselling? Things still don't work out? Well then, you'll hopefully be better able to remain civil if not friendly.

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