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Counselling - how do we do this

(10 Posts)
NowWhatsNext Mon 16-Nov-20 09:02:51

Have name changed for this.

I think it's fair to say that DH and I love each other. But things have been tough and neither of us are completely happy. Culminating in an argument on the weekend where DH accused me of being abusive and basically told me that he is only staying because of the children.

Obviously, I don't think I'm abusive. (the incident involved me expressing irritation and frustration as he hadn't properly vacuumed last week. We have a robot vacuum so he was doing the once monthly big vacuum and I'd specifically asked him, repeatedly, to do the balcony doors and windows in our room as they were a MESS. He had forgotten. I realised and said, "DH Naaaaam, you didn't vacuum this. This was the one place I specifically asked you to do!" I did not shout, scream or swear but I was irritable and frustrated and not very nice and I can see why he didn't like it. He then came upstairs and ranted and raved at me then stormed off saying, "You're lucky we have children, my girl, otherwise things would be very different."

Conversations and discussions then carried on, including his accusation of abuse.

So I think it's clear that neither of us are covering ourselves in glory here.

I think we need counselling because I can't get his accusations and comments out of my mind. He sort of agrees. There are, of course, other issues. He feels resentful (understandably) about lack of sex. I feel resentful that I do so much of the thinking (although DH absolutely DOES step up and do his share of general tasks etc). I'm the main breadwinner and am self employed and money has been tight for years. It's very stressful. Covid has clearly not helped.

But now I've said let's get counselling. I don't really know what to do . Part of me is resentful that, of course, it will fall on me to find the counsellor. TO research options and find one we can access and afford. Or make the decision on whether to go for counselling together or separately. Everything I've read on here says you shouldn't go to counselling with your abuser. So if I'm abusive, DH should really go alone. And to be honest, I feel like I might benefit from one-on-one counselling too because there are things I think and fell but don't feel I can say to him without him losing it completely. And I get that that's what counselling is for, but should I be thinking and saying them out loud to someone else first?

So should I be seeking individual counselling for us? Or marriage counselling? Or both? Relate? Or other? Please help.

OP’s posts: |
NowWhatsNext Mon 16-Nov-20 09:47:51

pathetic bump? I just spent some time on Relate and other counselling websites. I'm almost positive that whether we have couples counselling or not, I want to see someone alone too. But it all feels very uncomfortable.

OP’s posts: |
slidingdrawers Mon 16-Nov-20 10:22:35

Things sound very tense and strained between you. It also sounds like there is little mutual respect atm. Can you organise time away from the house together eg perhaps suggest to him, via a text, that you both get out for a walk together in the next few days to discuss the next steps?

LostInHydrogen Mon 16-Nov-20 10:24:48

Hi - I'm not sure I can offer that much advice but I can relate to your story. However the difference for me is that I'm the man in the relationship.

For me the bit that was different is that I'd spent a long time sucking things up to the point I broke down. When I told my wife how I felt, and what I felt was wrong it was her who said that I was saying she was abusive. I've been in my own therapy for a long time now, and we had couples counselling.

I fully understand the resentment - it was down to me to find the person to work with, it was down to me to learn about the process and it was down to me to book and sort the sessions out. I think you just have to see past that, but it is telling. Because one issue I have is my wife wants to do all the "nice stuff" (book trips, dinners, cinema etc") but it largely falls to me to the day to day stuff.

I would say that if you can go private and you can afford it, then it will be better. In that you can decide exactly who you want. I looked at around 20 counselors before choosing but some of it was down to availability. With Relate you will just be assigned someone, and the cost is a sliding scale based on your income.

If you are lucky enough to have access to private insurance that would cover you for therapy, then I there is no reason you both cant do singles and then come together for couples. I do find its hard and draining and I think you can do too much.

I'm sorry I don't have any real more advice. I wish you all the best, it sounds like you have your head screwed on so maybe the best advice is just trust your own judgement!

NowWhatsNext Mon 16-Nov-20 10:32:23

I'm sorry I don't have any real more advice. I wish you all the best, it sounds like you have your head screwed on so maybe the best advice is just trust your own judgement!

Thank you. The problem right now is that I don't have any judgement. I have no idea what to do. I sort of agree with DH that if the kids weren't involved, then it would be easier just to split. But I don't really want to do that.

I do think I need to figure out what makes me unhappy. And then figure out how much of that is up to me to fix and how much of it is legitimately up to him to fix. And then work out if I can discuss that wit him and if not, why not. Hence why individual counselling for me seems like a good idea at the very least.

OP’s posts: |
Nosnogginginthekitchen Mon 16-Nov-20 10:38:35

Go to a session together. The counsellor will talk things through with both of you and may even give guidance on whether to do solo sessions individually and then come back together for a joint one. If you are trying to work to fix things then sharing a counsellor can be helpful. A good counsellor will hopefully pick up if there is abuse happening and adjust accordingly.

Start by just checking who's in your area, talk to them on the phone, go with your gut. When it comes down to it you either want to fix it or not and you can talk through your resentment about you doing all the running when you have your first session. Otherwise save the money and decide who's sleeping downstairs/moving out because ti sounds like you can't figure out how to talk to each other to sort this without guidance...

LostInHydrogen Mon 16-Nov-20 10:50:03

In my case, we had a joint session to kick off. Then each had an individual session and then came back together for more sessions. I've had individual sessions with her as well and my wife doesn't know.

But yes I think you are right. You need to think about what makes you unhappy and that can be a difficult nut to crack. Because in my case, a lot of it was working out whether it was the actions and words of my partner that was making me feel that way, or something else more internal with me.

WellIWasInTheNeighbourhoo Mon 16-Nov-20 10:56:05

So he's not carrying his weight financially, he cant be trusted to do a simple household task, doesnt carry any of the mental load and he threatens and verbally abuses you for pointing any of this out. But you are the abusive one.... hmmmm. Get counselling on your own first, you sound exhausted and not able to see things clearly. And I wouldn't want to have sex with someone who behaved like that either.

NowWhatsNext Mon 16-Nov-20 11:17:28

@WellIWasInTheNeighbourhoo Sometimes that IS how I see it. But I do think it's more complicated than that. I think a lot of it is perception and expectation as well. eg, there is no doubt that DH is a hard worker. But, to use the vacuuming example, I think he spent something like 4 hours vacuuming the house. And was clearly exhausted afterwards. But I struggle to understand why it took so long. And this is an ongoing issue with us. I will get frustrated because task x takes him forever (therefore there's no time for other things) or isn't done quite right and he gets frustrated because he thinks i'm criticising all the time. And I suspect the truth is probably somewhere int he middle?

Eg he does most of the washing. But for him, it's this mammoth task and it takes forever so for this reason, he can't seem to work it into his regular day. So he lands up doing it at night time. Then I get this sense that he's resentful because I'm sitting on the couch watching tv while he's hanging up washing. And in light of the fact that I think we all agree we should have equal downtime, I get that. But... if he went to work at 9:30 and was home by 13:00. Then fetched the kids and was at home with them all afternoon, it's not clear to me why he didn't put a load on before he went out. Hang it up quickly on return etc. Partly, it's because he takes so long. The other day he told me he'd take DD for a bath as soon as he'd finished hanging up the washing. He spent 25 minutes hanging up one load of washing?!

So I guess I get frustrated. And am probably not respectful of him.

OP’s posts: |
LostInHydrogen Mon 16-Nov-20 11:43:21

@NowWhatsNext This is exactly that situation I have. When I hoover, its not good enough, when I clean it takes too long. When I iron I only ever do my own clothes supposedly, even though the ironing basket is completely empty. As you can imagine, I don't think any of it is ever black and white and each side will present a different story. For me what makes it worse is the changing of history and belittling. So in couples counselling my DW said how "I'd dramatically improved in the past couple of months to the point that she did now feel it was 50:50".. I know full well that I hadn't changed the level of contribution I had been making, so it made me feel awful that she even suggested in the past I hadn't pulled my weight. It got to a point where I would record each time I shopped or did something because that was the only way I could make my point

So I think its a fine line, but one point was interesting. What our couples counselor raised was the concept of parent, adult, child. So in order to resolve the issue you both need to be in the adult state. It sounds like you may adopt the parent role and him the child. Unless you can both get into adult state then it will go unresolved.

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