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- This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 3 months ago by Anonymous.
February 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm #128097
Hi TB peeps. I have read many of your blogs regarding staying/leaving a marriage, and I appreciate everyone’s advice. I know there is no perfect answer, but wondering if anyone has suggestions. I am in a tough marriage where I don’t feel any emotional support, being I can’t “talk” to my husband, along with nothing physical and intellectual at this time as well. We are having and continuing to have a tough go in the marriage. We met when both of us were recovering from a breakup. My now husband was going through a divorce, and hindsight, he probably needed more time to “heal.” We moved in together after dating one year, and then married a year later. A few months before the wedding, I began to notice his irritability with me and his depression. We would fight, argue and never resolve. I felt he would get mad at the slightest thing I did/said. I felt that I couldn’t talk to him about anything, because he would get defensive and either not engage at all or get very angry. After a huge blow up, where I brought up divorce (he scared me and won’t let me leave the room), my husband started Zoloft (about 3 mos ago). He sees a separate counselor and apparently medication had been in the discussion, as he dealt with depression in the past. I have noticed less irritability, but still no real communication. We had also went to a couple’s counselor for a year, and unfortunately, she thought it best to go to another therapist, being we weren’t getting anywhere and she thought we needed someone more “direct and a structured approach.” This was tough for me, being we invested a lot of time and energy with the sessions (and I really liked our therapist). Last night, we started with another therapist who is focused on EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy). After the session, I brought something up at dinner, and my husband again got defensive and later angry. It’s easier to not “talk” to him at all. I am torn, being we have only been married for 7 months and the road seems very long. We are not getting our emotional, mental or physical needs met. Would you recommend a certain type of counselor? I don’t know if an EFT approach is best for directness and structured? Is it worth fighting for? I am torn between what is “normal” fighting and what is too much…February 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm #128119AnonymousGuest
I am not familiar with EFT. I am familiar with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and had a very successful experience with CBT as couple and individual therapy.
You wrote: “A few months before the wedding, I began to notice his irritability with me and his depression. We would fight, argue and never resolve”-
For my better understanding I ask:
1. What was your experience with him during the one year of dating and during the first months of living together (before you noticed his irritability)?
2. What were the fights and arguments about; who started them, what were the complaints voiced by the initiator of the arguments/ fights? How did the other respond? An example would be helpful.
3. What did you like about the couple counselor you saw for a year? What were the benefits of that year counseling?
anitaFebruary 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm #128149
I appreciate your reply, thank you. I also know more about CBT, but from what I understand, EFT is an attachment theory and is focused on improving emotional connection in your intimate relationships. It deals with the ability to recognize your emotions and how they affect others. That would be a generic overview.
To answer your questions, when we first met, he seemed very easy and kind. We were able to have great conversations and spend time together, which is my love language. He seemed very positive and it felt good being around him. This is of course with any new relationship, and in trying to determine what happened, he has mentioned also feeling really good in the beginning (and his depression didn’t seem evident to him either), but with “real life” and daily issues, I suppose things changed.
The fights were first about silly things. One time being I asked him if he fed the dogs (his dogs). He took offense to that and got angry, I didn’t understand, so I got upset. Eventually he told me he felt I was judging him in that he wasn’t taking care of his dogs, when in essence, I love his dogs and was simply wondering if I should feed them. The fights seemed very petty and are many times simple misunderstandings, that I feel he doesn’t understand. Now, the fights become very heated on both sides and we always say the same things to each other and don’t “hear it.” Usually, I like (and need to) talk things out, so I bring something up, and no matter what it is, Ben takes offense or as I mentioned, gets defensive, and then I get angry, and then he gets more angry.
I enjoyed the counselor because I felt that she related to what I was going through, and it was the only place I could talk about our “stuff.” Being newly married, I don’t want to “complain” to my parents or friends. Everyone assumed we are deeply in love and living this happy, glorious life. She seemed to understand what I/we were going through, and the couple times we met separately, she mentioned his perception of truth being skewed and wished he could push through to talk, even if it ended badly. The benefits for me, was to voice my feelings and opinions in a neutral environment and be at least “heard,” which doesn’t happen at home.
I am sorry this is wordy, and hope this information is what you are looking for.
PFebruary 18, 2017 at 10:02 am #128221AnonymousGuest
You are welcome.
You wrote: “I get angry, and then he gets more angry”- this is the kiss of death to being heard, to communication. Like my therapist used to say: when your anger is up, your IQ goes down. We don’t think right, we don’t listen, we are caught up in some kind of a mental trap when angry. Anger begets anger and so it goes.
The fact that he was “easy and kind” and that the two of you had “great conversations” for many months leads me to think that the breakup of communication happened as a result of the two parties: you and him. Also, the counselor you saw for a whole year, although you felt better, heard with her, was not at all helpful to the relationship.
The example you gave about feeding the dogs clearly indicates that in that example you did not judge him and he only imagined that you did. But before that incident, somehow, he felt judged by you and maybe you did judge him, about other things. Sometime along the way, he heard you judging him and he closed himself to you, built a wall that wasn’t there before. Could this be the case?
I wonder why “’real life’ and daily issues,” which you mentioned for the reason he changed from easy-and-kind to Closed. During the months of having great conversations, didn’t the topics of those great conversations include real life and daily issues?
anitaFebruary 19, 2017 at 7:08 am #128301
Truth. All of what you wrote, and it did help me go awww…I have a part in this (obviously), and my part can be controlled. I can get frustrated and eventually, angry. Your saying, when your anger is up, your IQ goes down, is absolutely correct. And perhaps I did judge in the past, and that is what he assumes is going to happen? I didn’t look at it that way. It is interesting that at one time we had a really good thing, and I struggle with where that went. It is him and I. And sometimes, I can easily point the finger on why “he” can’t communicate. Perhaps I am not providing a safe platform for him to do that.
Last night, I was going to meet a friend out of town to “get away,” as I tend to do when things get difficult. After I read your comment, I decided to stay home and work hard at being kind and loving. He is now making breakfast as I am writing this. Things seem better today. Thank you for your response and holding me accountable (as a friend should).
Side note: we appreciate what you do for TB community, Anita. You always invest your time and wisdom on others and have for a very long time. You are a good soul. Thank you for all that you give!
PFebruary 19, 2017 at 8:40 am #128305AnonymousGuest
You are welcome and thank you for your expressed appreciation- means a lot to me.
What means most to me is that I may had a part in you and your husband having a better day. Opening up communication between you and your husband does require the two of you feeling safe with each other. He needs to feel safe; he needs that “safe platform” you mentioned. Notice when you feel angry at him and don’t automatically or impulsively react to the feeling with behavior and words. Often we get angry when there is no real offense against us, we just don’t like what we just heard, it triggers us because of our past experience. Build tolerance to your own distress.
It takes time to build that safe platform. He has to trust you, over time, that he will not be attacked for expressing his honest thoughts and feelings, that it is safe to do so.
Post again, anytime, if something comes up, an example of communication or miscommunication that happens, something you need help with- maybe I can help.