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Do marriage counselors give opinions

(22 Posts)
Tower52 Tue 01-Sep-20 13:11:13

Pretty simple as that. Relationship not in a great place, agreed to get third party help.

What can I expect - would a therapist make suggestions, or say you should split etc. Would they make individual comments to one partner?

OP’s posts: |
LondonCrone Tue 01-Sep-20 13:38:55

A marriage counsellor will not as a general ride offer advice; it’s more that they reframe the discussion and invite new perspectives to get you to a conclusion on your own.

My marriage counsellor did tell me that leaving my ex was the right decision, but only after I came to that conclusion on my own and stood by it for a number of weeks.

Tower52 Tue 01-Sep-20 13:47:59

@LondonCrone Thanks - that was my inkling. Was that couples counselling or were you going on your own?

OP’s posts: |
LondonCrone Tue 01-Sep-20 14:09:27

Couples counselling. You trade off sessions, so one week you go together, then you go alone, then your partner goes alone, and then you come back together, if that makes sense.

SoulofanAggron Tue 01-Sep-20 14:34:54

I've heard on here they sometimes would give advice in individual sessions. For instance one woman said the relate counsellor had said their partner was emotionally abusive. If a counsellor saw that, I think they would have to mention it to the victim, as they might feel they have a duty of care or at least to inform the person.

What can I expect - would a therapist make suggestions, or say you should split etc. Would they make individual comments to one partner?

In couple's counselling, they would have to say what the individuals need to do, I imagine, otherwise the counselling mightn't get far. For instance if bloke needs to be empathetic to his wife in everyday life.

I've heard that stroppy/crap/abusive men can't handle it if the counsellor doesn't take their side, also that men who are manipulative charmers can turn the counsellor onto their side so it becomes another way of making the victim feel they're to blame etc.

If a partner's abusive in any way, including verbally, emotionally etc, it's not advised to have couples' counselling. It might be worth looking at descriptions of verbal, emotional or other abuse to see if they resonate at all, as often women don't realize that's what's happening.

Tower52 Tue 01-Sep-20 15:30:54

Disclaimer .. I'm male - personally I don't think I am in an emotionally abusive relationship, perhaps it is more a case that I am in an emotionally devoid relationship - ie my emotional needs aren't being met, although she would argue her's aren't either.

We had an argument / debate last week whatever you want to call it. So for an example - I was accused of being selfish and not doing enough around the house. I said I didnt think that's true, for example I had done the washing and ironing for the past three weeks as she had been very busy at work. She responds by saying that I am selfish because I only ever iron my own clothes. I said that couldn't have been possible because the ironing pile was as high as the door and now its completely empty. The counter argument was that 'ok, on this one occasion you did - but that's the first time you have ever done it'.

Its the same conversation over and over again and has been for years. I would do the food shop week in week out for 8 months. I get accused of not doing enough and then get told I had done it 'once or twice so stop making a point of it'

It feels a bit like I am going mad... like I know I do my share, but now I feel maybe I am not. Aside from writing it all down I don't know what to do. I dont want to live in a relationship like that though....

If I haven't done something that we agreed I would do it would be "great job doing the lawn" when its clear it hasn't been done. And before the shouts... I'm not saying I shouldn't be doing these things, but I don't think I should be accused of not pulling my weight.

I'm pretty laid back.. some may say a yes man. I've tried to work on being a bit more stronger over the past couple of years (at work, etc) and I'm speaking up a bit now. Its causing fractures...

OP’s posts: |
BadDucks Tue 01-Sep-20 15:38:49

To be honest washing and ironing is just one household job as is food shopping so if one job a week is your contribution to the household drudge then your other half may have a point?

category12 Tue 01-Sep-20 15:45:53

I'd think about why your partner feels you're not doing your share at home - it sounds like she feels everything falls to her and she feels overstretched. Maybe try writing it all down and thinking about who does what usually - see what it looks like to you.

Tower52 Tue 01-Sep-20 15:49:36

See now you are also have me guessing

I cook lunch and dinner, generally do the washing up as well. I look after the garden, contribute to the cleaning.

My point is that in my head I feel like I do more than my fair share, but I feel like I am constantly told I don't do enough.

OP’s posts: |
LilyWater Tue 01-Sep-20 16:01:10

Perhaps both of you sit down, then write down together ALL of the household related tasks both of you do, including those related to any children. It'll probably be eye opening as a lot gets done without the other person (especially men) genuinely not knowing or recognising it. Then talk through a fair split of those tasks, taking into account work and other responsibilities.

Tower52 Wed 02-Sep-20 16:36:56

That wouldnt be necessary - I probably wont be believed but I am doing 90% at the moment. My wife works in law and is very dedicated to her job. She has been working 12-15 hour days and will often work weekends and when we are on holiday.

I've been cooking, cleaning and running the house to support her in this. I've asked her to cut back on hours at work but she says she cant and or wont. I take her hot drinks throughout the day, and care for her. But I'm finding it hard to show affection because of the resentment that I feel like her support staff.

OP’s posts: |
ThePhoenixAndTheAshes Wed 02-Sep-20 17:03:17

Your last post paints a very different picture to the earlier ones. I think PPs idea of writing everything down that needs to be done on a regular basis, including tasks like paying bills and child care if you have kids. And see who currently does. If you do do 90% then seeing it in black and white written down may help get your point across. And if as your earlier posts read your DW has mostly been the one carrying the load it might help you to feel less resentful.

Think about what you want to a achieve by going to marriage counselling. I can't see them telling your DW to do more housework and even if they did she'd need to want to listen. Some people have a very mixed up perception like my H who thinks he does so much round the house whereas in reality he'd do less than 5%. If your DW Is like him she may be so invested in her perception that she's not be willing to listen to anyone on this issue.

Tower52 Wed 02-Sep-20 17:16:20


I'm not saying I do 90% the whole time. There are times where she is less busy at work and she will step in. This raises two issues:

1. When I raise it as a concern that I am doing a lot she will reply by saying that I am painting a picture that she does nothing. I reply by saying, no I am not saying that. She is exceptionally hard working but her job rules and will always be priority

2. When I raise a concern that I am doing a lot, she will say "you had to do it for one week".. or "you literally have to put the bins out once, don't make out you do it every week". But I know deep down that I have done it 90% of the time over the past year.

It just makes me feel pretty inferior, belittled and unhappy. And now she's annoyed I am not romantic and it feels we are in a downward spiral.

I'm reluctant to start recording who does what day in day out ... this is a marriage not a classroom exercise!

OP’s posts: |
Motherof2pearls Thu 03-Sep-20 16:38:51

Divorce or separation, which is best, any ideas?

I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to file for a divorce or separation. This is new ground for me after nearly 30 years of marriage. Feeling completely heartbroken, but I’ve been left with no choice. Any ideas, I’m at a loss. Thank you for your help and suggestions,

category12 Thu 03-Sep-20 16:49:00

@Motherof2pearls I think you probably intended to start your own thread? - Try here

beenwhereyouare Thu 03-Sep-20 17:19:25

I see an individual therapist, as does my husband. And sometimes we both see one or the other together to assess where we are as a couple. This has been such a game-changer for us. We've developed a better relationship this last year or so than at any time in the prior 40. We actually talk about important things. We open up and share the secret things we've always been too cautious to say. Things that change the way we see each other and our marriage. I'm 60, he's 65, and hopefully we still have 20 years or so to be happy.

TwoFlatWhitesToWakeUp Thu 03-Sep-20 18:05:34

OP, your wife sounds rather dominant and when you push back, she gaslights you. It sounds like she doesn’t respect you.

Do you have any DC? If not, I’d leave her to it. Doesn’t sound much fun TBH.

justchecking1 Thu 03-Sep-20 18:34:16

It just sounds like you've stopped thinking of yourselves as a team. It's perfectly normal for the shift of balance of workload to change regularly, depending on what else is going on. Usually no one points scores this, it's just the way of things when two people are working for a common goal.

If it's started to feel like "her vs me", rather than "us", it's not a good sign.

Stannisbaratheonsboxofmatches Thu 03-Sep-20 20:22:52

Perhaps both of you sit down, then write down together ALL of the household related tasks both of you do, including those related to any children.

This still sounds like the best idea to me, even if you think it’s not necessary.

tornadoalley Thu 03-Sep-20 20:26:07

One once said to me, why are you two still married, after H made a typical crass, unenlightened and utterly selfish comment.

Ex H now

No generally they don't give advice but suggestions on improving communication et.

tornadoalley Thu 03-Sep-20 20:33:07

why don't you have a cleaner? someone to cut the grass and do the garden, and so on?

HM1984 Fri 04-Sep-20 06:30:00

Op, you sound like my husband a while back.

We had a few problems a few years back and same as your situation, I was very critical of the lack of effort (I was also working part time and doing most of the childcare). It actually turned out that our communication was the issue.

We had a good few counselling sessions and I now get that sometimes the way he does things isn't necessarily the way I'd do them and that was what made me think he wasn't helping out as much.

If I ask him to put a load of washing on, he will separate the wash load differently to how I would. It means the basket isn't empty. Used to annoy the hell out of me.

Can you hang the clothes out please? He would hang them (and still does) in this weird way where I seriously don't understand what goes through his brain. Folding the clothes too, but that is his way of helping and I've just learnt to accept we are all different and we do things in different ways.

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