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Relate with STBXH today.(9 Posts)
Me and H are separating, and today we went to see a Relate counsellor for mediation/presence of a third party. I didn't know what to expect.
I was crying for most of the journey there - suddenly it all felt so final and real. When we walked into the therapist's room and sat down, I grabbed a handful of tissues, as i thought I was in for a lot of just sobbing, basically.
As it turned out, it was a really fantastic session. I said SO much that I needed to say, and the wonderful counsellor was so supportive that I felt like she wasn't sticking 100% to her duty of impartiality! I'd been thinking this morning, before the session, that the things I wanted to say to H were all things I had said before; not that I got any reaction or acquiescence from him, but none of it was really news to him. On the other hand, i was expecting what he would be saying to be new to me. So i was kind of bracing myself for a hard slog.
As it turned out, we mainly went over things that had been said in arguments before, but this time it felt so much better, in the neutral territory of the counselling session. The fact that it wasn't all a ton of new revelations made it easier, in a way - easier to sort of keep a calm head. I felt like I really rocked the whole thing, and felt really 'adult'. The counsellor gave me as much space as I needed so that I could say what I really, really needed to say, and although it wasn't new stuff, i said it again so that she was clued in to what I have endured in 8 years of marriage and 15 together. i went right back to 14.5 years ago and recounted some things that had set some patterns in motion; H was totally bemused and looked at me like I was mad, but i strongly stated to him that just because he doesn't remember certain incidents doen't mean they did not happen. That really struck him. there were afew storied i told about shit he has pulled on me over the years, some really, really nasty and fucked-up stuff, and some of them he said he couldn't remember, while with others he said he hadn't thought those things were important - and I realised, even as the words came out of my mouth, that just because he doesn't remember them or think they were a big deal, that was/is not my experience of thhose events. And what could he retort to that? He couldn't deny that what I said was true.
I told the story of one particular incident, which was one of the final nails in the coffin, one of the things he did that i can't even tell my Mum as it would make her sick. As soon as i started talking about it in the session, I burst into tears (and of course, he just sat there blankly), really cried, then managed to tell it. And after that i was able to get through the rest of the session just getting stronger and stronger. The counsellor really held space for me, and encouraged me to state my case, and that was really mind-blowing! (H had to shut the F up and listen!) And when she 'd built up a clearer picture of what things had become like between us, she asked H a LOT of questions that really put him on the spot. He has always taken the stance that he is in charge, that he earns the money so is head of the house, that I am lazy and can't be arsed to do chores, that I really need to step up and dance to his drum. And she shredded him on that! Not directly, but she sort of led him to dig his own grave really - he was all braggy and sort of wanted to lay the scene of how crap I've been and not joined in with his way he thinks things must be done. I just let him carry on, I care not for his bullshit any more!
It was such an empowering session. H was unsure about whether to go for a 2nd session, but I found it so good that we are going again in a fortnight. I'm so pleased with how it all turned out.
First time I went to IC, the relief was overwhelming just to pour it out and she totally une'er stood why I was so pissed off and talked about what I wanted and needed and went into assertiveness in great detail. She made me feel that even if I decided to leave, I would be OK, in fact she thought I would be more than ok , she also encouraged me not to rush into anything, give myself 6 to 9 months, see whether I got remorse that was satisfactory to me etc
Wish my h would give Relate a go as it would help him get his thoughts in order and see things from my perspective as well as his own. But he just says he is ner speaking to some 3rd party interfering busybodies who will tell him what to do and think, and that it is all crap!
Glad it has helped you, that's really encouraging.
I think group counselling is usually more helpful / cathartic to the "wronged" party.
My exW wouldn't go to Relate as a couple. She'd used it by herself to talk through and cement the fact she wanted to leave for the OM (of course I had no idea at the time that was what she was going for) but had no desire to work through anything with me.
I did single counselling later, which I admit was helpful, but nothing like as helpful as (I think) a group session would have been.
Then again, mediation was a frustrating process because she was clearly there just to check it off for the court process. The mediator asked her some uncomfortable questions and she binned it off and decided the mediator had to be biased!
I'm glad for you, OP, that yours was useful and congrats for persuading your ex to go.
Be prepared for him fighting back next session. He was blindsided this time.
Why are you going to Relate during a divorce? Or is he not a STBXH?
I'm afraid counselling wasn't helpful for me.
stbxh really managed to turn things to his advantage and got the whole sessiom focussed on doing the housework rather than his shitty behviour.
I'm glad it was a positive experience for you, OP
runrabbit, we went so that we could talk with a 3rd party present. It wasn't for the purposes of reconciliation. I think a lot of people go during divorce. H complains that I never open up to him, so he booked us in for a session .
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