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Marriage in crisis(41 Posts)
Hi everyone, this is my first time posting online looking for support before trying couples counselling. I have been married for 14 years and with my husband since we were 15. We have 2 beautiful boys but our hearts are breaking right now and we don't know what to do. We have always argued / bickered and life isn't perfect but we love each other and can't imagine life not together. Long story short, 7 years ago he lashed out at me after a heavy night drinking. I wasn't entirely innocent as said some horrible things to him after being resentful for a while. No visible damage so no one ever knew. Since then he suffered with depression and has been on medication, unable to live with what he did. 2 days ago we argued (again after a few drinks). We can never seem to see each other's points of view so after me upsetting him verbally he walked away. I followed as had to go to the station to get home. He tried walking away from me several times but I wouldn't let him. In my (drunken) mind I was trying to resolve the situation, feeding my own needs instead of considering his. As a result he hit me once just under my chin. No pain or bruising just shock, but it has devastated us both, leaving us in tears & feeling like there is no way back from here. We are looking at our children and can't believe how badly we behaved and feel like the worst parents in the world despite them not having a clue what's happened. I know what he's done is inexcusable and no one could hate him more than he hates himself right now. We love each other but don't know where to turn. I suggested counselling but I'm reading so many bad reviews online. He thinks we should go our separate ways but I'm worried about his mental Heath too after last time. I know it sounds clichéd but he is a fantastichusband and father who works hard every day to escape how he was brought up and has done so well for himself. We are both so ashamed. Please help. Thank you for reading, sorry if it's a bit garbled...if I read it back to check I may not click to post
Has he thought about anger management? Or both of you?
No we haven't really talked about that. He's a quiet character usually and the anger was exacerbated during the depression (I think it had started before the initial incident) so put it down to that. This is something we need to talk about. We are both too raw right now and can't see a way forward as it's something horrendous and out of character hanging over us
He has not escaped how he was brought/dragged up and he has hit you more than once. There is no excuse or justification for violent behaviour. You did not make him drink and he did not have to hit you even if you did go after him post arguing.
You got together at a very young age as well, both of you really do know no different. You sound both co-dependent and ashamed, is he really ashamed or would you like to think that he is?.
Is he really that fantastic a H and father or are you simply kidding yourself here. What is in this relationship for you now, what needs of yours is he meeting?. Is this the life you want for your own sons going forward, for their mother to be hit by their dad at varying intervals and particularly after alcohol is involved?.
What did you yourself learn about relationships when growing up?. Do either of you have any real idea of what a mutually loving relationship (I doubt it) is because this is not it at all. If you got together when you were 15 then you really did have no real life experience behind you. You got together far too young and you have always argued or bickered.
Do not do any form of couples counselling with him; instead have counselling for your own self and without him to establish why you have put up with this from him and why your relationship bar is that low. He is correct in one respect; you do need to separate from each other now.
If you really do love your children show your children a life without his violence towards you. You have a choice re this man, they do not.
Womens Aid would be worth contacting on 0808 2000 247.
If you want to resolve it:
Both quit drinking
Both find a decent couples therapist to learn how to communicate properly and forgive each other
If he is depressed then he should not be drinking alcohol at all. Alcohol as well acts as a depressant. How much of this though is down to depression and how much of this is really due to he being an arse towards you?.
How is he with other people, presumably he is nicer to them so I would argue that he does not have a problem with anger management. He has a problem with anger yes, but only your anger and when you dare to challenge him he lashes out.
I understand your reaction and you are right about some things (getting together young) but yes he is a loving husband & father and no he didn't grow up with the best role models but has worked hard to not follow the same path. My parents argued / bickered but I had a very happy home and they are still together. I'm not making excuses for him and neither would he. I have no fear of him & I can give as good as I get in a row. We are both professionals and deal with domestic violence every day in our jobs which makes us feel even more ashamed. I don't need women's aid, we are in crisis and I just thought talking about it would help. My children are happy and secure & are nothing but loved - our only concern for them is if we can't get through this it will devastate them.
Ps he doesn't lash out whenever I challenge him. It's happened twice in 27 years which I know is twice too many times but just to be clear.
I feel I'm stating the obvious but you need to both quit drinking.
He is also truly ashamed. We often share bottles of wine with no problem, alcohol has obviously made this situation worse but can't be entirely blamed. This stems back to the initial incident / resentment etc as I never dealt with it properly. When he hit crisis point the doctor referred him to the crisis team and he confessed everything. It was destroying him. I really don't want to sound like I'm defending his actions but there's a bigger picture and I'm looking for support not for blame / hate to be laid at any one person. We never go out and the children never see the rows except when we do and we're on our own the past comes back to haunt us and we go over old ground again & again. We will often argue but never to a point in unequal. This is us hitting crisis point and I'm not sure where we go from here
AnniesShop, this is exactly what we've said and our starting point, I just don't know if that's enough. Drinking is fine & as I've said we drink lots of wine with friends & with the children around with no problem at all. It's when we (rarely) go out that we don't have a 'stop' switch.
Have you ever had a big argument when you've been sober? If so, how have you both felt with anger then?
RandomMess Thank you, that seems great advice! I'm just ready lots of horror stories online about couples counselling making things worse, not better.
ImperialBlether, yes & usually he'll stomp off upstairs to his manpit, watch tv and I know to leave him be. We'll often (and especially if children around) argue via text so they don't know what's going on
Then we'll say sorry or talk about it...he's the sulker and needs to be left alone. I can argue and talk properly straight after
Pretty much what RandomMess has said.
Its clear that you want to push the argument into a corner and get it all out and he has form of just leaving. Feeling trapped doesn't do anyone any good.
Counselling can make a real difference to you both I think if you both want it and it seems these events type your DH over an edge so he should welcome it.
Thank you, it's not easy at the moment as we are both so numb, ashamed & upset. He has agreed to counselling we're just not sure we can get past this and I'm concerned about the quality of counselling we'll get.
Counselling will only help if you are both willing to change and work at your problems. You have a long history of repeating the same behaviours, arguing, bickering, sulking, refusing to drop stuff... It would be difficult to change the dynamic you have but not impossible.
You do need a decent couples therapist but only do it if you are both committed to facing your own shortcomings and making difficult changes. If you can't then you are in a very unhealthy relationship full of guilt and blame and would be better apart.
We are educated people, we know what to do but in the heat of the moment...It breaks my heart to think about splitting up our family. We want to make it just don't know if we can. You're relight though...it's a lifetime of behaviour we need to change. How is that even possible?
The advice I got was to ring around several therapist (you want qualified therapists not just someone who calls themselves a counsellor) - speak to them about what the issues are & what you hope to resolve/get out of it. See who you click with, get DH to speak with your short list (or vice versa).
It will be tough going but it will work if you both are committed to change.
Has anyone here been through similar issues and come out the other side?
RandomMess Thank you for the advice
Both of you need to stop being so hard on yourselves, this is not a case of domestic voilence, we are all human and sometimes loose our tempers. obviously it shouldnt have came to this but from what your saying op i dont think you guys should end it because of this. When i was pregnant i was a raging loonatick, always picking fights with my dp and really loosing the rag with him. I slapped him during this time and was of course full of remorse and felt awful. That was 2 years ago, hung over us for a few days but we both just accepted that sometimes shit happens, doesnt mean we dont love each other and are not happy. Right now we couldnt be happier, hes a great partner, father, friend and worker. As from your post sounds like your dp is the same.
Hope this helps.
Don't take on his problems. Imo it's 1 thing to get into a drunken row & have a go at someone in their face, & quite another to lash out. I don't like it & id worry that the fact that you take him back & even take on some of the responsibility for his violence means it could be a slippery slope, now he knows you'll "put up" with it. Hopefully counselling could help.
Thank you Louise, this is what I'm thinking but I'm worried I'm playing it down to suit myself. It's hard to think of all the wonderful times we've had at the moment and I can't seem to pull myself out of it. What I've described is definitely not our day to day life and we are a normal happy couple and loving family most of the time. We do argue unnecessarily most of the time which is what I think we need help with. It's about how we speak to each other & the perception of what is actually said. His mother is a waste of space and mine bickered with my father constantly when we were younger though not for years and still happily married - I'm not sure our upbringings made us a very good mix but we do want to change the cycle. We also have very different ways of dealing with this. Whilst I've shut down and can't motivate myself to do anything, he is immersing himself in the kids & being the best dad ever making sure they are ok. I'm ashamed that I can't even pull myself out of it for their sake
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