My feed

to access all these features

Here you'll find divorce help and support from other Mners. For legal advice, you may find Advice Now guides useful.


Is it possible to save things?

24 replies

Bemusedguitarist · 15/04/2019 10:16

My partner has asked for a separation. I am willing to try counseling for both of us to try to work through our problems. What experiences of counseling have you guys had, what was helpful and what not so? I want to feel hope that it can work and how long it will take. I know no-one can say for certain right now, as every situation will be different, I'm just venturing into unknown territory and it's very scary.

OP posts:
spritesobright · 15/04/2019 13:03

I tried couples counselling twice with my STBXH (plot spoiler alert).
Both were via RELATE. The first time, we managed to talk about things and the counsellor suggested that we just needed to reconnect as a couple. We left the sessions feeling very reassured in our relationship and determined to work at it.

Six months later, having put all that effort in and having done what the counsellor suggested, then DH initiated counselling again. This time he had already made up his mind that he was leaving and counselling just consisted of him telling me all the things he didn't like about me (the WORST hour of my life). They were all excuses so that he could leave. I found out later that he'd had been having an affair and the counsellor knew about it because she'd held individual sessions with us both.

So, my conclusion is that counselling only works if both people are totally honest and willing to work at the relationship.

I still feel angry about those counselling sessions - like it was basically an excuse for STBXH to abuse me when he'd already decided to leave but was too chicken to tell me.

Is it your partner who's suggested counselling or you? The risk is that he goes just to placate you but actually has no intention of trying and has already given up.

Bemusedguitarist · 15/04/2019 13:29

Haha loved the spoiler alert! Yes it was me who suggested counseling this time but they have suggested it in the past, I just dismissed it then as I didn't appreciate things were so bad. I don't think there are any horrible secrets to reveal and things are amicable at the moment. I can only see how the first few sessions go. There are lots of bad news posts here about break-ups and failed reconciliation that I just wanted to feel some hope that it can work. But also there is the nagging thought that their mind is already made up and it's only to placate me. We shall see I guess. Thanks.

OP posts:
spritesobright · 15/04/2019 19:06

😁 One has to laugh about heartbreak sometimes.
And apologies if I used the wrong pronoun, I should know better.
I do think counselling can work and possibly would have worked if STBXH hadn't been having the affair and been depressed as well (in the midst of a midlife crisis).

And maybe it did help in that the counsellor made some practical suggestions about financial mediation and child access.

I think at the time I wanted her to 'save' my marriage and tell my partner how irrational he was being.
But they can't work miracles and once someone has made up their minds it's difficult to change it.

Itsnotme123 · 17/04/2019 16:58

We had counselling, initiated by my exh. And no prizes for guessing that it didn’t work. I just saw it as an evening out, which I never got with my ex. I didn’t like the way the counsellor expects you to just open up to them, whilst they sit there staring at you, not saying a word. And then they say ‘how do you feel about that’ comments.

The counsellor suggested that we did certain activities, which we did, but it was so forced because we were told to do them. I just hated the whole experience so I stopped the sessions.

2018anewstart · 17/04/2019 23:15

My experience of a counsellor was that she refused to counsel us! After 2 sessions together I went to see her on own. She said she could not counsel us as my husband was a narcissist. She basically told me to get rid of him. She was right in everything she said and 18 months later I found out about his cheating ways again. I messaged her to thank her and said I should have listened to her advice. Would recommend her to anyone!

SandyY2K · 18/04/2019 00:53

I found out later that he'd had been having an affair and the counsellor knew about it because she'd held individual sessions with us both.

Your counsellor shouldn't have both of you as clients individually, as it's a conflict of interest.

Especially as you were also having MC with her.

FauxJoMalaux · 18/04/2019 10:46

This is a timely thread :)

We are about to embark on relate counselling - we had our pre assessment and then our initial joint meeting with our allocated counsellor and the next two sessions will be individual sessions... then joint after that.

We split in Jan and have been living separately. I’m not sure what can even be achieved by counselling as DH has said the relationship is over for him. The split stemmed from his families interference in our marriage (posted at the time) but am now also wondering if there is someone else.

I am going along with it but just not sure why if he has made up his mind - probably because I feel so up and down and like I am not making progress. Hoping counsellor will help me understand better / clarify things for me/ stop me feeling sad!

spritesobright · 18/04/2019 14:41

Sandy2k we weren't individual clients. The individual sessions were part of the couples counselling because we arrived with such wildly divergent aims.
He had his mind made up he was leaving, and I was in floods tears at the shock of it and willing to do anything.

Yellowshirt · 21/04/2019 00:36

I tried for four years to save my marriage. It was all false and a lie. I personally wish I hadn't wasted the four years and divorced instead of trying desperately to save it.

jeshow · 21/04/2019 17:29

I suggested counselling to me ex after she told me she was unhappy in our marriage. She didn't like the idea of talking to an outsider so nothing happened at first. Then two weeks later she had a one night stand with a stranger she picked up in a bar whilst away with work. After that she asked for us to go to counselling because she wanted our marriage to work.

Six months later and we've now been separated for two months. I worked on all the things the counsellor suggested but my ex had already checked out of the relationship. I don't think she was ever invested in the counselling working.

So it all comes down to how honest both people can be. If my ex had been honest about truly wanting to make it work then I might not be sat here alone now.

Yellowshirt · 21/04/2019 18:42

Hi jeshow
My wife had an affair in 2014 but despite her promise she never stopped contact and almost certainly the affair. Again dishonesty and lies. I wasted another four years trying to save my marriage.

jeshow · 21/04/2019 19:09

@Yellowshirt So sorry to hear that. It's crazy but a part of me still wants to be back with her even after all she's done. I suppose it's because I thought my life was sorted and we'd always be together and now that's all gone. I just wish she had actually invested in the counselling rather than carrying on texting guys and being distracted.

But we all deserve better don't we? We deserve someone who truly wants to be with us and respect us.

spritesobright · 22/04/2019 15:36

jeshow yes, I absolutely agree that we deserve someone who loves and respects us and will work on the marriage.
Like you I found it very hard to accept that my future had washed away like a sandcastle and I couldn't be with the father of my children. It was like I was letting them down as well.
But when it comes down to it, my ex has shown that if things get tough he's willing to project all his unhappiness onto the person who loved him most and will just give up.

jeshow · 22/04/2019 17:19

@spritesobright Exactly, it's like the rugs been pulled from under you. I thought things were great. We had lovely house, lovely holidays, lots of family time together. And now it feels like it's all been taken away.

But just like you, when it got tough my ex blamed everything on me rather than try to work through the issues. She's now a guy who's several years younger and really different to me. It's hard to take.

jeshow · 22/04/2019 17:20

I meant 'with' a guy, not that she's had a operation 😂!

spritesobright · 23/04/2019 09:12

@jeshow yes, same. Except STBXH is now with a woman 10 years older than him. She is also very different to me and leads a totally different, privileged lifestyle (think no kids and large disposable income).

It killed me wondering why he would choose to be with her instead of me and our children but he's just chasing his depression away and wants to be "taken care of" and doted on.

It sounds like your ex might be working out some issues as well with a younger man and trying to 'prove' herself somehow. People do crazy things to chase their youth.

How long are you out of your relationship? I'm coming up to 10 months and it's getting easier.

I had a weekend away with new bf this past week and found myself thinking "my life could actually be better without my ex." He had a way of draining the fun out of things sometimes.
I NEVER thought I'd feel that way and I know it'll take a lot more time to get there.

jeshow · 23/04/2019 11:28

@spritesobright My wife got together with a guy eight years younger than herself (I'm the same age as her) within two weeks of us separating. She had been messaging him a lot before our split, supposedly supporting him because he was having trouble with his girlfriend. I feel so foolish looking back now. I do think that a lot of it is her dealing with her issues and trying to recapture her youth (she's mid-30s now). Maybe she is trying to prove herself. I just still can't get my head around how my love wasn't enough. That's the hardest thing to take.

We've been separated since February, so not long really. I have good days and bad days, sometimes good hours and bad hours. I did actually go on a date last week - the first in many, many years. Sadly didn't work out, but it did feel good to at least realise that there could be someone else eventually.

spritesobright · 23/04/2019 12:34

@jeshow that's so difficult. Sounds like an emotional affair had already begun.
I felt foolish as well but really, if a spouse is going to lie and cheat then other than hiring a PI what else can you do? The fact that you believed her just goes to show that you had the trust and commitment required of a marriage.
"I just still can't get my head around how my love wasn't enough. That's the hardest thing to take."
I know, it's awful. The thing is, you still have that capacity to love and commit and that is special. Someone will utterly appreciate that one day. For some I think the grass is always greener and they seek fun and pleasure elsewhere when things get a bit tough.
Your ex's new man sounds like a rebound, frankly, but by the time she realises all the things missing that you had to offer, it will be too late.
I desperately tried to save my marriage and thought my love and empathy and our ongoing commitment would surely be enough to get us through the difficult bits but it wasn't. And that was about him, frankly, rather than about me.
I can say that but I know it still hurts and the pain and longing takes a long time to heal.
Good for you for getting yourself back out there and I think you need to see the first few months of dating as just "testing the water" and having some fun conversation and activities.
You sound quite measured and reflective about it all.

jeshow · 24/04/2019 12:48

@spritesobright I've been pretty calm throughout it all really. I've cried, a lot, but I've tried to keep a level head and keep telling myself that better things will happen in the future.
Yes I do think this new man is a rebound - in-fact she has even said that exactly to me. But if/when she misses me it will be too late. It already is.

spritesobright · 24/04/2019 14:20

That's impressive. It took me a long time to get to that point. Last night my ex came over and did bedtime with the girls. Afterwards my eldest DD(7) said that her Dad had been a bit sad and she though that he missed me and wanted to come home.

Her eternal hope kills me, because I've been there. I kept hoping and praying that he would change his mind and realised that he was making the biggest mistake of his life and missed me. But he never did. And as you point out, he may never do so.

He was probably sad because he misses the girls but through all of this the person he has felt most bad for is himself. Which tells me all I need to know really.

jeshow · 24/04/2019 14:55

Sounds like a similar situation to me. I put the kids to bed last night and then had an awful argument with my ex before I left. But later on my ex called to apologies and tell me how lovely I am. It ends up giving you false hope.

I just keep telling myself (and my friends keep telling me) that even if she changed her mind it wouldn't be right to get back after all that has happened.

HugsandPoptarts · 30/04/2019 15:49

Yellowshirt and Jeshow, I’m a year in to saving the marriage. And it worked for 6 months but he left for the third time 4 weeks ago.
Realising that chances are, it’s completely dead for him. Been together 19 years with two DS

spritesobright · 30/04/2019 16:55

I'm so sorry HugsandPoptarts you must be heartbroken and disappointed after trying so hard. I felt for a while like it was 'working' but now I think it was just a show and in his head, it wasn't working.

It was like he just flipped, in the space of a few months, from thinking that we were a great couple willing to fight for our marriage - to complete dejection and hopelessness.

We were together for 15 years and had 2 DS as well.

@jeshow my friends said things like that as well but I had to get to a point where I felt it wasn't right to continue. I think only you and your partner (or ex) will really know the dynamic of your relationship and whether you might try again.

FWIW, I think it's unfair of your ex to tell you how lovely you are. It's total mixed messages. I hate it when my ex tries to be 'nice' to me and feel like he's either patronising me or just trying to get a nice divorce settlement in his favour.

It might be sincere but you stop being able to tell the difference once they've screwed you over enough times.

jeshow · 03/05/2019 15:35

@spritesobright You're right, I think I do need to come to that point myself. I have moments, like today, where I just want to be back with my wife and be with her. But they do tend to pass as I get to know new people and can see some kind of future for me.

Yeah it is hard when she tells me that I'm lovely and a 'wonderful' man. I end up thinking, 'well if you think that then why aren't we together?'

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.