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My role as wife/ spouse?

(17 Posts)
Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 19:27:26

I asked this question in relationships and the suggestion was made to post this here too.
Basically, dh and I are in couple counseling and as I think dh is ea, we've been asked to describe our roles in our marriage.
I'm a mother, a stepmother, I work full time and feel comfortable and confident in all these roles.
I just can't manage the role that's been assigned to me by dh, I,e doormat. But I can't think of a positive role for myself either anymore?! Any suggestions, thanks!

ecclesvet Wed 17-Apr-13 20:16:37

I would consider my role that of "equal partner", so if there's something we need to do to help our marriage, then we'll figure out how to get it done.

Obviously there are some jobs that we can't split 50/50, but on the whole it balances out. Neither of us have exclusive possession of the "home-maker" or "breadwinner" roles, and other spousal-type roles (e.g. confidante, lover, cleaner, assistant, etc) are expected of, and delivered by, both of us.

MaryRobinson Wed 17-Apr-13 20:55:25

Is the question about what your rôle currently is, or what you want it to be.

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 20:56:31

Thanks for replying, ecclesvet, it is equality I'm after.
I just didn't realize I had to specify to my dh every single issue Where i expect equality, I mistakenly thought it a package deal upon embarking on an intimate relationship.
Thanx for sharing.

Celticcat Wed 17-Apr-13 20:58:05

The question is what I want it to be, Mary, but I've had trouble coming up with something.

MaryRobinson Wed 17-Apr-13 21:15:41

Joint decisions.
Having a relationship you can be transparent: not having to hide some of the stuff he says or does because it doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Discussing like an adult, no brow beating, no name calling, no "you always..." sentences.
Truly consensual sex.
Being a joint TEAM you aren't his enemy

HullMum Wed 17-Apr-13 22:05:40

I think in every relationship each person will on occasion be a twat to their partner, but if you have to give a list to your husband that is effectively saying I'm not a doormat /slave I'm not sure a list will cut it to be honest. sad

Celticcat Thu 18-Apr-13 07:00:40

The transparency is an issue as I've asked him to disclose his finances (weve been together for 4 years, married for 3 yrs) not to have access to them, simply to know what he earns, and he said he'll think about it. It's been a couple of weeks now...
Consensual sex is another, great sulks if I'm not up for it daily, I'd like to think 2 to 3 times a week is plenty, particularly as he can get carried away and I get sore and need time to recover. I have pointed this out but he would still like to ignore that.
He has trouble respecting me, thinks nothing of putting me down, little digs in front of the kids that especially his dc will happily pick up to show their strong bond with him.
I don't feel the need to make him look bad, I like the idea of a united front, this gives my ds, who lives with us, a sense of security as I was a lp for many years.
I had hoped dss would feel the same but his decision to live 50:50 now seems only a way to guarantee his "hold" over dad, his bff, does not lessen.
If dh doesn't figure out that adults need to be a team, comforting and supporting each other and giving each other the strength to deal with raising teens and building a future, I'll have to face the consequences of another divorce. A real shame though as ours lives together have real potential.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 18-Apr-13 10:05:16

I get the impression that there is more than just emotional abuse going on here.
Getting 'carried away' so much that he hurts you during sex can happen in my experience. BUT the fact that your DH pushes you into having sex again the following night even though you are hurting and sore is totally wrong (and shows a disgusting lack of concern or care for you).
Hiding his income from you suggests to me that he really doesn't see you as an equal even at a basic level.
Are you sure you really want to try to 'fix' this relationship? Your DH does not sound like a very nice man tbh. You say you have been a LP before, so you know you would cope.

Sorry, I know that is not really what you are asking, but if a RL friend approached me with the same situation, I would question why she felt she wanted to stay with a man like this at all.

worldgonecrazy Thu 18-Apr-13 10:13:47

I don't always go for equality, but for fairness. What would be fair to both of you in your marriage? Do you have to list everything in minute details to get over what you want out of this relationship? Are you going to have to list things like "Week 1, husband does bins, woman makes dinner, husband washes up, wife wipes down work surfaces, ....."

If your husband is abusive and manipulative I don't think couples counselling will help. You may need individual counselling to help you be strong enough, and recognise the signs of abusiveness and manipulation.

I agree with those posters that have said this man doesn't sound like a keeper. Why wouldn't he let you know how much he earns? You're married so it should be regarded as joint earnings anyway. Why does he force you to have sex when you don't want to? (that's called rape by the way). He doesn't sound considerate at all, and he may be threatened by your assertiveness outside of the marriage.

Celticcat Thu 18-Apr-13 14:27:01

I have been wondering myself a lot lately why and how this relationship soured.
Have spent all morning digesting Lundy Bancrofts why does he do it? On iPad (a mn suggestion, great book) and have come to the conclusion my dh is an ea in the victim mode:
whirlwind romance where he comes across as the knight in shining armor, understanding of my insecurities due to my ex narc partner and narc parents, seems ultra sensitive because his ex wife was a man eater, abusive on all levels etc etc. he's needy, insecure...
But suddenly demanding and cold when he does not get what he wants.

I realize I can take care of myself and ds, this has been criticized by dh, too. I'm making him feel unneeded and unmanly by my self sufficiency!
I suppose because his bad manners and selfishness have been creeping in over the years I feel I can halt any further advance into knobishness by confronting him and getting counseling.
Strangely though I am starting to feel more confident for having spotted his growing sense of entitlement and "manning up" to it.
I see these counseling sessions as a make or break phase. Should we break up I'd definitely want it mediated as last bf ( between dh1 and dh2 turned into a stalker).

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 19-Apr-13 02:11:14

So glad you took be uo on my suggestion to post this question in Feminism. smile Its 2am and I'm BF my baby while posting on my phone so can't write as detailed a reply as I would like. I have to say that dh does not sound like a keeper. Not disclosing earnings and insisting on sex even when painful are dealbreakers for me. Hopefully some of the other posters here can better articulate why.

DaffodilAdams Fri 19-Apr-13 14:21:46

Celticcat there are many red flags that you have just outlined in your very brief outline of your relationship. The getting carried away in sex, the insistence on sex everyday, the non-disclosure of finances, his sense of entitlement, his attempts to erode your self-confidence and independence making it all about him instead, the "abusive" ex.

First of all joint counselling will not work with an abusive man. His issues are rooted in his attitude and he will use it against you. He won't change and will probably get worse.

The other thing to recognise is that an abusive man won't change unless he recognises he is abusive and wants to change. He sounds like a long way from recognising he is abusive and even if he is a short walk from an epiphany he has no reason to change. Ultimately it is you that is unhappy, not him. He is only likely to want to change if he has something to lose. You staying with him is not giving him any impetus.

I would also take his talk of his ex with a massive pinch of salt. He is using this description of his ex to control you and keep you "in line". If you behave like his ex supposedly did then he can use that as a excuse to abuse you further. It also works by controlling behaviour so that you don't any behaviour that could be reminiscent of hers and therefore trigger him. It is bollocks as Lundy Bancroft will explain to you. You have been abused before yet feel no reason to punish him or take it out on him.

You may find getting counselling yourself useful especially if the counsellor specialises or has experience with abusive relationships. The other thing you may want to consider is the Freedom Programme.

But as SkaterGrrrrl says he doesn't sound like a keeper.

Celticcat Fri 19-Apr-13 18:43:57

Thanks for replies.
I've found dh "profile" under The Victim in the Bancroft book.
When I complain mildly about his behaviour he either turns into a puppy I've just mercilessly flogged and makes me feel terribly guilty OR if the complaint sounds harsher or somehow closer to home he becomes cold, or stares at me as if I'm mad. Then of course I immediately feel in the wrong and back down. The stories he's told of the ex match the book as if it were a script he learned. He discouraged any talking with her at the beginning of our relationship, which I thought odd then. Having met her a few times at dsc events she does come across as a sociopath. But I think she may just have been a bigger psycho than dh and he's sore she "won"?
Next counseling session is in a fortnight, am going to use this date as time limit to discuss issues mentioned and take it from there.
At least I see now that its not his feelings, but his thinking that's skewered (sadly I also recognize some odd behaviour in his ds that lends credence to abusive behaviour being learned, copied).

Celticcat Sat 20-Apr-13 09:13:40

Short update:
Spoke to dh last night on several issues. Outcome, just like the book says, if they have to give in to reasonable demands, an ea will turn it around, accuse you of something worse and make an un reasonable request in turn.
Luckily I had read the script and was able to state my needs categorically, without my usual caving in and becoming over emotional.
Told him literally to man up. I was sick of mothering a man child and he'll never get the respect he craves if he doesn't act his age and face up to responsibilities.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 20-Apr-13 09:23:09

Good for you.

He sounds hideous. Whereas you sound lovely.

Where to from here for both of you?

Celticcat Sat 20-Apr-13 09:41:30

Thanks for asking.
Well, I didn't back down and feel guilty, so that was a first for me! Yeah!
Dh admitted to ignoring issues he felt were unfair to be asked of him, so at least it's all out In the open now.
I'm not expecting Miracles at our age, mid forties, but as I now have a secure belief in what I want and need in a relationship and will not chip away at it myself, never mind allowing others to do that, I think I'm a stronger person now and feel able to deal with other less tense issues than money.
To give dh time out to come to terms with new situation, we decided he had never grasped the role of being a husband, neither in first marriage nor in second with me, and now was his chance to do so. With the help,of an objective counselor.
I'm in the unique position of not actually needing him or being dependent on him on a material level, but requiring him "merely" to change his attitude so,that I can respect him for my emotional needs i ask of a partner, and he gets the attention he so terribly craves.

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