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What should this couple do next?

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  • What should this couple do next?

    Couple married & together for several years, have children, and have struggled in their marriage. They've only had a couple rounds of counseling years ago before kids but mostly the husband went on his own because the doc wished to continue seeing him. Once parenthood arrived the couple were great about going out on their own or doing something together a couple of times a month, however they were still not a solid, happily married couple. The wife started to tell the husband that he needed to calm down on the way he talked to the kids but he found her showing some of the same not-so-great parenting skills and didn't appreciate her questioning his. She continued to tell him to go out on the weekends, to go away on a trip, go to a doctor, whatever he needed to get in a better place. He went to doctors and did his own thing one day every weekend. The couple still appeared happy to the outside world. After the wife kept seeing the husband lose his temper she finally told him during a heated talk that she didn't approve of his parenting and that he should really take a break because the kids stressed him out too much. She too had not been the best parent but she knew he was not happy. He knew they both had a lot to learn about parenting and was crushed that she didn't approve of his parenting.He wanted her to clean more and felt that she was too rough with words with him. He shut down and started pulling away from her after that. She began to feel it and they began to bicker more. Then she confronted him about his distant behavior and he said that they should try living apart taking turns crashing at friends houses while they worked out their differences. He left the next day and later that week she asked him to stay at home just live in a different room so that they could work on problems under the same roof. He agreed but had such anxiety about the way he parented around her that he couldn't handle it. He left again. Meanwhile she found out that he was talking to another girl that she knew he was friends with, much more than she ever thought they talked. He assured her it was nothing, after admitting he had talked to her about his marriage he promised he wouldn't talk to her about it anymore. So he started seeing a counselor. The wife requested couples counseling but his counselor said he wasn't ready for that. The wife wanted him to be able to say that they could work on the marriage and the husband refused to say anything other than he needed time to think. He shut out his family and friends so she called his family and friends asking for them to reach out to him. She told them all that she wanted to remain married and just couldn't reach him. They reached out to him but he felt confronted and shut them out even more. He continued to clean and do laundry to help out while he was gone. They helped each other with the kids.He finally decided that he wasn't getting enough space to think crashing at friends houses so he told his wife that he needed to get a 3 month lease, not anything longer because he might change his mind after a week, he just needed to do something for himself. She cried & yelled that she didn't want any of that and that it was unacceptable. He told her that it was his decision. She emailed the family & friends that she had reached out to & told them she had taken a chance marrying a mentally ill man because she felt that only someone clinically depressed & irrational would switch so dramatically. After a couple of days she reached out to her husband asking for each of them to see the same counselor individually until he was ready to go together and he still refused to leave it as an option. He got the apartment & moved out a week later. One day he read all of her emails about him on her account even though he knew he shouldn't have. He was hurt & said he wanted to divorce because he had never spoken that way about her. She said that she had never left him or signed a lease. What would you do in this situation?

  • Hi 2012sucked,

    This is a biiiig post, big wall of text that is really hard to read and an impersonal style that's really hard to follow. I think more people would be able to weigh in and help you out here if you rewrite your question a lot shorter and with more paragraph breakup.
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    Comment


    • Wow, a lot of thought and effort was put into this posting to ensure readers wouldn't respond to a gender specific scenario. Both men and women are members on the forum and try to give sound opinions without judgement or bias based on the OP's gender. The post is definitely hard to follow, but I'll try to break it down, as best as possible.

      Most couples have ups and downs in their marriage. Relationships are work, hard work. Even good relationships require give and take. That is what makes the relationship strong and loving. It doesn't just happen without effort.


      They've only had a couple rounds of counseling years ago before kids but mostly the husband went on his own because the doc wished to continue seeing him.
      He went to doctors and did his own thing one day every weekend.
      So he started seeing a counselor. The wife requested couples counseling but his counselor said he wasn't ready for that. The wife wanted him to be able to say that they could work on the marriage and the husband refused to say anything other than he needed time to think.
      After a couple of days she reached out to her husband asking for each of them to see the same counselor individually until he was ready to go together and he still refused to leave it as an option.
      The dr. wished to continuing seeing the husband for a reason. There was/is obviously an underlaying issue taking place here in which the doctor was attempting to treat. Sounds like the root of the problem still exists and he still needs help. I think he realizes he has an issue or he wouldn't continue seeking help off and on. But the bottom line here is that he has a problem. You mentioned mental illness. Has this been diagnosed by the doctor?? I would think so.


      The wife started to tell the husband that he needed to calm down on the way he talked to the kids but he found her showing some of the same not-so-great parenting skills and didn't appreciate her questioning his. She continued to tell him to go out on the weekends, to go away on a trip, go to a doctor, whatever he needed to get in a better place.
      After the wife kept seeing the husband lose his temper she finally told him during a heated talk that she didn't approve of his parenting and that he should really take a break because the kids stressed him out too much. She too had not been the best parent but she knew he was not happy. He knew they both had a lot to learn about parenting and was crushed that she didn't approve of his parenting.
      Everyone makes mistakes when it comes to parenting. Most parents want to be the perfect parent that has all the answers, makes wise decisions, and when looking back, have no regrets. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. There is always an inkling of doubt in given situations. EX: Did I speak to harshly? (And this list could go on and on.) This is the thing - we learn as we go as parents. We do the very best we can at the time (Hopefully, and rationally) and then we move on. When we reflect on how we handled a situation, if we question our actions, then perhaps we should make a note to do it differently next time. (Wait 5 minutes and calm down before screaming at a child because of frustration) Sometimes people blow their stack and a while later think - it really wasn't that big of a deal, I over-reacted. Being overwhelmed in the moment can lead to harsh and cruel actions, but with a moment to gather our bearings and rationally evaluate the situation, we can deal with the same situation maturely.

      He wanted her to clean more and felt that she was too rough with words with him. He shut down and started pulling away from her after that. She began to feel it and they began to bicker more. Then she confronted him about his distant behavior and he said that they should try living apart taking turns crashing at friends houses while they worked out their differences. He left the next day and later that week she asked him to stay at home just live in a different room so that they could work on problems under the same roof. He agreed but had such anxiety about the way he parented around her that he couldn't handle it. He left again. Meanwhile she found out that he was talking to another girl that she knew he was friends with, much more than she ever thought they talked. He assured her it was nothing, after admitting he had talked to her about his marriage he promised he wouldn't talk to her about it anymore.
      Okay, over and over I've seen where she has encouraged him to calm down (needs anger management), go out on the weekends, take a mini trip, whatever he needs to get his frame of mind in a better place. Sounds like to more she has encouraged him to find a way to channel is anger and find a happy place, and the more she did, the more he viewed it as criticism. He needs help. She has encouraged him to seek help and wants to make the marriage work. When she exhausted all avenues, she turned to family and friends for HELP. Not to berate him, or shame him, but to reach him.

      He read through HER emails and found her pleas for help. The result: he went off the deep end and asked for a divorce because she spoke bad about him. Asking for help to reach someone is not speaking bad of them. She is trying with every ounce of her being to reach him and get him to seek the help he needs because she loves him, otherwise, she would have dismissed this relationship a long time ago.

      Final assessment: HE NEEDS HELP! Remember the saying, You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Unless he REALLY wants to change this pattern of behavior and have a relationship, I don't know that there is anything else SHE can do.

      Good luck!

      Comment


      • I appreciate your situation, which does not lend itself to a "which is better - Coke or Pepsi?" question. Euphoric did an excellent job of chunking your block of text, framing issues, and providing insight.

        I boil it down to this. You are an unhappy couple together, but you brought children into the world and they seem to be minors living at home. The kids come first. If neither of you is dangerous and it is better for the kids to have you in the same house, then you live together in misery as a couple. If one moves out, then the other can't drag that person back. It's time to formally split assets and decide on how the bills get paid. If living together is worse for the children, than living apart, then you separate for the sake of the children, but that is extremely rarely the case. I only invoke that option when one is physically violent, engaged in sex outside the marriage, or involved in other destructive behaviors like compulsive gambling, drinking and driving, or illegal drug use.

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