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Something to warm your cockles...

(12 Posts)
doubleginandtonic Sat 16-Jul-16 23:42:27

On 31 December, I posted a message asking for a recommended marriage counsellor after my wife had told me she wanted a separation. I was devastated for us and the children, and I asked her to see a counsellor with me, which she did in the New Year - very reluctantly. In that session, she said some stuff that ripped my heart open. It felt like the marriage was 99% over, and the counsellor’s face was one of sad resignation. But there was a precious 1% to work with and I was convinced we were better off together. I somehow persuaded her to come to further counselling, which was pretty painful, but as the weeks rolled on the counsellor was great at gently teasing out and helping us address our underlying problems. To cut a long story short, if only to protect identities (and my fingertips), my wife had a (huge) change of heart and we are now back on track. We’re still work in progress, and not quite on the next train to Venice, but we’re working on that. The counsellor got a very nice bottle of bubbly when she deemed us safe to be released into the community.

Obviously I’m in no position to provide relationship advice, but here are a few observations which might help others who are looking down the same barrel.
- Trust your instincts. Mine told me that I loved her to bits, in spite of it all, and that was worth fighting for.
- Seek expert advice. Chirpily-titled books like “My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More” got me a few pitiful looks on the 7.04 am commuter train, but they helped to focus my mind and gave me good advice about what to do (and what not to do). The Relate and Andrew Marshall books are all good.
- Get expert counselling fast, and let the professional (who has probably heard it all before) lead the way. It’s important that you connect with the counsellor, so don’t be afraid to ask to change if you don’t. Good counselling isn’t cheap, but think of it as investment not an expense.
- Don’t do it alone. Seek the counsel of a small handful of wise friends of both genders, and tell them everything - warts and all - so they can point out if you are being unreasonable. I avoided talking to mutual friends whom I knew my wife had confided in because I didn’t think it would be fair on them.
- Be graceful. This is hard when you are having all manner of blame and shit thrown at you, but if you can take it on the chin when you are genuinely at fault, and push back gently but firmly when you aren’t, you will avoid fanning the flames when they least need it. A good counsellor will bring perspective to problems, and help each party acknowledge the part they are playing; it’s quite often a case of "six of one”.
- In all likelihood, you’re both going to have to change to reboot the relationship, so demonstrate proactively that you are willing and able to change.
- We devised a code for telegraphing that we are about to say something that usually had the potential to spark an argument or bad atmosphere. Instead of saying “You never put the bins out and it really pisses me off” in an aggressive voice, we agreed that we would adopt a Jeeves like voice (think Stephen Fry) and say “Might I most respectfully and humbly request that you share the pleasure of placing the bins out?”
- Keep your chin up - it’s way more attractive - and look after yourself. And good luck!

Lastly, thanks to Rainbowlou1 for her kind empathy when I last posted. We both had a pretty shitty Christmas and New Year, but I dearly hope her 2016 has picked up like mine has.

Resilience16 Sun 17-Jul-16 05:57:54

Good to hear something positive,glad the counselling helped and I hope it continues to work out for you both. Thanks for sharing and good luck !

daisychain01 Sun 17-Jul-16 06:11:22

Some good insights here, and it's a really happy ending for you and your DW.

Not to throw cold water over anything you've posted, G&T, but the reality is that counselling only works when both people are receptive and motivated to change (and believe they have something worth working towards and "saving").

If there is abuse, twattish behaviour or if the commitment isn't there on both sides (which my experience of the Relationships board is around 80% of the threads on here) people don't even make it to the counsellor's door. They're on a hiding to nothing!

AgathaF Sun 17-Jul-16 06:31:24

A lovely post. I'm glad things are on the up for you, and hope it all continues to go well.

FuzzyEyes Sun 17-Jul-16 07:17:22

That's great. I wish you both onwards and upwards!

tofutti Sun 17-Jul-16 08:46:22

Really pleased for you doublegin smile

Some very good advice there!

ButIbeingpoor Sun 17-Jul-16 14:44:03

Bloody good on you, Gin! I'm so glad things worked out for you both.
My ExH won't go to counselling or discuss his affair with any honesty. He just wants to wipe out the past as if it never happened and go on with our marriage with a clean slate. I can't do this. I just can't. I can't move on because I fear he'll just do it all over again. I wish he was more like you.

doubleginandtonic Sun 17-Jul-16 21:43:28

Good point. I feel fortunate to be in the 20%, with no major twattery like an affair or abuse in our case, more a loss of connection and not being ourselves. I despair when reading what some people do to their nearest and dearest - including the impact on their children.

doubleginandtonic Sun 17-Jul-16 21:46:45

^ that response was to daisychain.

to ButIbeingpoor... Be careful what you wish for; I'm a ginger...

(and how does one respond properly to individual posts?!)

daisychain01 Wed 20-Jul-16 16:21:33

You sounds keeper G&T, and emotionally intelligent. Thanks for posting, I do think it can help people to know that efforts on both sides and counselling combined is often a successful combo.

Happiness to you and your DW x

daisychain01 Wed 20-Jul-16 16:22:27

Oops that was meant to say You are a keeper smile

FrancesNiadova Wed 20-Jul-16 19:17:40

Well done Mr & Mrs G&T. Best wishes for the future. flowerswine

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