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How do you start a conversation that might end the marriage!

(25 Posts)
Giraffe11 Tue 23-Jun-15 00:10:50

My H and I are rubbish at communicating. We have been married for 12 years and I have learned that if I say what I feel he gets mega upset and shouts at me. Any effort on my part to raise an issue is taken by him as a personal attack, he won't talk things through but just shouts at me. Which of course winds me up and makes me respond in a way that isn't helpful. So I tend to tiptoe around him except on odd occasions. Which inevitably, like tonight, end in him shouting, stomping out, slamming door etc. over something so trivial, too!

How can I have a sensible conversation with him that enables me to say how I really feel, without him shouting and getting all upset, without really listening to what I need to say?

How can I tell him I don't love him any more, that often I don't even like him; that I am not happy in the relationship, and fear therefore that I am not making him happy either?

We haven't made love for at least two years, he isn't interest in sex and now, I couldn't face doing it with him. He will kiss me goodbye and texts me during the day with messages but the affection if any, is on his side. I don't feel anything.

Reading this back, it makes me sound pretty pathetic. But what can I do to talk an adults, fair and mature approach to trying to tell him how I feel?

I am sorry this is long, but I would so welcome any advice...

PonderousTortoise Tue 23-Jun-15 00:17:06

This is a suggestion that is not based on my own experience so you need someone else to tell you if this is actually a good idea or not - but could you say what you need to at a counselling/mediation session?

There was a comment on another thread about counselling being useful for the couple in that the man listened to the woman's comments through the counsellor, though he hadn't listened to her at home at all.

You could perhaps book a session and ask him to attend, and if he doesn't, just use it for you to get your head straight on what you want and how you will approach telling this to, or discussing it with, your DH?

Jackw Tue 23-Jun-15 00:25:47

If you genuinely don't like or love him, do you need to have the conversation at all? You could have a conversation with a divorce solicitor instead.

EvaTheOptimist Tue 23-Jun-15 00:35:32

Remember, its not you, its him. If he behaves like this he has a serious lack of respect for you (in fact it is emotional abuse). There isn't any way you would be able to "phrase it" or "approach it" so that he will magically take it well or listen. Because, its not you, its him. I don't believe you will be able to suddenly get him to listen. He doesn't want to empathise with you (or can't).

Are you resolved that you want to leave the relationship? I wish you the courage to do what you want, for you.

And please stay safe, has he ever been violent? If so be very careful and take the advice of someone like Women's Aid.

kittybiscuits Tue 23-Jun-15 00:39:28

I went to counselling with an abusive man like yours. It was a waste of time. Worse than that, it was damaging to me. You can't make him listen to you or take any notice of you. It's not what he does.

kittybiscuits Tue 23-Jun-15 00:40:53

You have one life. Please don't waste it being treated like this.

HowDoesThatWork Tue 23-Jun-15 00:51:20

You do not need to start a conversation with him, you need to start a conversation with a divorce solicitor.

Bakeoffcake Tue 23-Jun-15 00:53:01

You've explained so well here why you don't want to be with him. If I were you I wouldn't try to talk to him initially, I'd put what you've said in your OP in a letter to him.

This way gives you the chance to say everything you want to, without being interrupted and not listened to.

magiccatlitter Tue 23-Jun-15 05:46:58

I would bring it up that he doesn't seem happy anymore. If he starts shouting, tell him you can't hear him when he is shouting.

He might want out too and be relieved you brought it up.

I would give it a try like that and then see the solicitor. Or write him a short letter.

You deserve to be happy.

CamelHump Tue 23-Jun-15 06:01:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SluiceSloosh Tue 23-Jun-15 06:17:41

It's great that you are asking this question. Someone very close to me is in an identical situation and the inability to discuss anything appears to be the thing stopping them from leaving.

I second what others have said, it's not your problem he won't listen. So you tell him you want to talk to him, say everything you need to, regardless of his reaction and then put the practical things in place to split. You know you don't need his agreement to end the relationship.

Be strong, it sounds like you're doing the right thing.

TheDowagerCuntess Tue 23-Jun-15 06:23:17

Definitely agree with writing him a letter.

If he's prepared to talk and listen after that, then great. But if it denigrates into the usual shouting match, you will have to decide if it's feasible long-term.

CamelHump Tue 23-Jun-15 06:26:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Janette123 Tue 23-Jun-15 08:25:25

I can understand how frustrating this is for you. My exH was conflict avoidant and wouldn't discuss anything that involved emotions. If I raised an issue he just walked away.
Sadly, if he won't listen, then he won't listen. You can't communicate with someone who takes every suggestion as a personal affront.
Please don't waste any more of your life with this person who isn't going to change.

PonderousTortoise Tue 23-Jun-15 09:01:33

Just to clarify my first post - I was assuming you probably want to leave and was suggesting the counsellor/mediator might help you say that and help you decide how to separate, rather than to 'fix' things.

Others may be able to tell you what would make a letter successful but in my experience letters can equally not be 'heard' as spoken words. Also it can be tempting to pad all the complaints out with kinder words to soften the blow, and then the message gets lost, or even turned round on you to e.g. show that you are at fault. Unless it is as simple as 'Dear H, I can not go on in his relationship, I am leaving'.

I do heartily recommend writing a letter about your feelings that you don't necessarily send. If you get all your anger and hurt out in words for yourself it might make your next step, or what you really need to say, clearer.

Smellyoulateralligator Tue 23-Jun-15 09:03:40

If you don't like or love him you should start divorce proceedings.
I think that telling someone that won't end well. What would be the point? Changing his behaviour? Setting things straight?
Can you speak to a lawyer or at least have an 'I want a divorce conversation'?

WingsofNylon Tue 23-Jun-15 09:18:22

I agree with others. If you feel so little gor him and you both are as unhappy as it appears then I don't think that a conversation is needed. Time to create a live free from him

Threefishys Tue 23-Jun-15 11:40:28

I've been here - it's bloody hard work and really not worth the payoff trying to have a discussion with someone like this, they will avoid it at all costs. I started thinking that was the norm but now I am in a different relationship I see it so totally isn't. As a couple you need to be able to bring conflict out in the open, discuss it, debate it and deal with it. The under the rug sweepers will never ever evolve no matter what you try. They can only exist wearing blinkers in a relationship and it's not useful or healthy - it's also completely one sided. Don't try and explain this to him, he's committed to not listening. Agree with the others, get out and have a happy functional relationship with a man capable of having one .

PoppyField Tue 23-Jun-15 13:12:35

I went to counselling with an abusive man like yours. It was a waste of time. Worse than that, it was damaging to me. You can't make him listen to you or take any notice of you. It's not what he does.


Sorry you are going through this OP. I agree with kitty. Your H is abusive and his shouting and anger is all a tactic to stop you communicating and to obfuscate and confuse you. This keeps you on edge and tiptoeing around him - that is just how he wants things. (Don't ask me why, just bizarre, I had one too). I think you are being too generous saying in your OP that 'My H and I' are rubbish at communicating. You seem to be perfectly able to express yourself clearly on here... it's him that is refusing to hear you.

And Sluice makes a good point upthread: 'the inability to discuss anything appears to be the thing stopping them from leaving.'

Incredibly, his behaviour is so hostile it actually stops you 'having the talk'. It is a very successful tactic at keeping you in your place.

You know what? I'm sure you've done your best to communicate yourself to him and he is refusing to listen. I would go to a solicitor and communicate with some divorce papers.

You don't have to get his agreement to end the relationship, thankfully. It is hard work - he will make it his business to make it as shitty as possible and it will be all your fault of course. All of which will make you doubly glad that you got rid of the fucker. Good luck.

Twinklestein Tue 23-Jun-15 13:36:55

It's not likely that he's not going to get upset if you say you want to end the marriage. Anyone would even if they didn't have his drama issues.

So I think a letter and leaving the house is probably the quietest way in the short term.

I don't think discussing it will be productive so you might as well put it all down on paper, and then refuse to discuss it further in real life.

Giraffe11 Tue 23-Jun-15 23:10:11

Thanks everyone, for your responses. I handy expected so many replies, and I'm really grateful for that.
I don't see my H is being abusive - I do see him as rather needy and emotionally insecure. I feel in part responsible for the position we find ourselves in, as I think it takes two to tango and I should have had the courage to speak up and say what I really thought and felt a long time ago. The longer you leave important things unsaid, the harder it becomes to ever say them.
I promise I will think really carefully about you have all said. The truth is, if he and I were just 'going out' I know I would have kicked him into touch long ago. It is all so much harder when lives and day to day routines have become so entwined...
Thanks for listening...

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 23-Jun-15 23:18:27

Needy, emotionally insecure people can be abusive. In fact that may be why a lot of them are.

You don't love him. You don't like him. You don't want him. Just plan to separate and keep yourself safe while you do it. My opener was, "I'm not happy" and the rest just followed from that. Happily divorced and remarried here so it can all work out...

PoppyField Wed 24-Jun-15 22:44:29

Hey Giraffe,

Don't worry about whether he fits the diagnosis of an abuser, just worry about whether you fit the description of someone that stays for years in an unhappy marriage and then wishes they'd pulled the plug earlier. Yes you are invested... but how difficult will it be in 5 years' time or 10 years'? Really, I know we're all bitter old crones (ok just me then) but you should divorce his sorry backside sooner rather than later. You owe it to yourself.

p.s. the things you say are all the things people who are on the receiving end of an abusive relationship tend to say. There's a kind of 'manifestation' of symptoms that form a coherent theme. It's the kind of thing I used to say to myself when I was with my XH 'it takes two to tango' 'I should communicate better' 'If only I expressed my true feelings better, he would understand and things would change...' etc. etc. However, these things are easier seen in hindsight. As it is, you know you are bloody miserable now, with no prospect of it getting better - that's enough to be getting on with, and that's enough 'grounds' on which to call time on this. Good luck,

Giraffe11 Thu 25-Jun-15 00:40:14

PoppyFileld, I hear what you say. I don't think I am making excuses for him - rather, I am wishing I had talked about being unhappy sooner to give him the opportunity to acknowledge my feelings and respond. That way, it would be easier to say now, further down the line, look, we talked, but nothing has changed, rather than dropping the proverbial bolt from the blue.
For the record, it isn't true to say I don't like him. Sometimes I don't like him, or rather, I don't like what he does or how he behaves. Maybe that does mean sometimes I don't like him some of the time.
Anyway, I am going to keep revisiting the thread and thinking about the advice that has been offered. I really appreciate it all.

Jan45 Thu 25-Jun-15 13:11:58

He shouts and closes you down, that is exactly emotional abuse, he will eventually wear you down so much you wont know what is right and what is wrong, you wont be able to get him to understand, he doesn't want to understand. You either stay and allow him to continue to abuse you or you actually put yourself first here and go out there and make yourself a happy life.

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