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We are now starting marriage counseling.

htd_sh's picture

This fight stemmed from small things related to being a step family, escalated, and now brought out so many issues. It’s been going on for 1-1.5 weeks. Over that time we both thought about divorce but neither of us wanted it. Today, DH decoded he is seriously considering it and wants to do marriage counseling. I am 100% in, so we have our first appointment on tuesday evening. I feel so distant. He is so angry and I’m so upset. 

Anyone been through marriage counseling? Did it help? What happened that made you feel it was or was not helpful? Any opinions, suggestions, advice? Please!!!


SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Never got that far. Your husband is mad he can’t have your money to enable his spawn or his ex. He’s mad he can’t use you as the nanny/chef/chauffeur.

Are you saying he’s considering divorce? Beat him to the punch. He is a lousy marriage partner and it won’t get better.

htd_sh's picture

He feels separating our finances makes us like “roommates”. I guess that is how he views it. I don’t know if he is truly considering this or not. I don’t know if it was said out of anger because at the same time he said “I love you and I want to be with you but I don’t want this fighting and I can’t live miserably just because I’m married. “ honestly, I feel the same about that. 

The tricky part of this: I have bipolar disorder. I can tell I started entering a hypomanic episode about 2-3 weeks ago (I had two weeks off of work which is one of my biggest triggers-a break in routine- I should know that by now)then stress started that made it worse and my mood made the argument worse. I recognize that. DH has made it clear through our entire relationship and even validated it now that this does not bother him on a day to day basis but he finds it difficult when things like this happens. Fair. I do too. 

I am by no means making excuses for his behavior or mine, just try to share the entire experience. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

The “roommate” thing is code for “we each pay half and he doesn’t have access to your leftover money.” 

The nerve of him, really. Do you have medication for your mental illness?

htd_sh's picture

I do and I take it regularly, but unfortunately these episodes still happen. I recognize I need to go to adjust my meds but I don’t feel it is significant enough to go to the hospital, and I obviously can’t get an appointment IMMEDIATELY. So frustrating. I also have pretty bad PTSD that contributes to bad panic attacks- I take medication for that as well as needed- but I don’t like to take it often because it is an addictive medication. I feel like I’ve taken so much lately and I HATE IT. (Never more than my prescribed dose)

htd_sh's picture

Thank you so much for all your support. You e commented on a lot of my posts.. and you have no idea how much your contribution helps me. I don’t care what the opinions are.. I just want to hear ALL of then

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I was in an awful marriage before; I’m worried for your self-worth and sanity. I think you should think about why your husband is divorced from BM. Probably he isn’t an innocent in their split/divorce.

 I’m not an innocent in the failure of my first marriage. I recognize my mistakes and learned from them. My marriage now is absolutely so much better and I’ve been married for many years.

Stephell sometimes causes strife but we always manage to work through it. I hope Our marriage can weather the coming storm. Sad

SteppedOut's picture

I agree with sayNo on the finance thing. There is A LOT more to beimg married than shared finances (of course it benefits him ONLY, how would it go if only YOU benefited on shared fimaces for a while?). Bull crap, he's essentially saying he is married to you because: more money. 

CantComplain's picture

Wow. I am very impressed with your self-awareness. I'm guessing it took a lot of time and work to get to the point where you can recognize where you are on the bipolar roller coaster. You've done a great job. Smile

DarkStar's picture

I split finances during my first marriage, and I'm glad I did.  I was the primary, hell the ONLY breadwinner for most of our marriage.  I still had to pay out of some of my 401K for my loser non-working ex, but things could have been much, much worse.  Current relationship....still separate finances.  We are on the mortgage together and that's IT.  FDH also makes about twice what I make, but I still wanted separate.  And FDH was fine with that.

And to say that separating finances makes you "roommates" is a load of BS and a total copout.  If he wasn't being irresponsible about money OR wanting to get his hands in your pcokets, he wouldn't care.  This would be a hill to die on for me. 

susanm's picture

Just wanted to chime in to say that you may be bipolar but that doesn't mean that you are wrong.  You have felt this way for a while.  It is not something new brought on by a change in brain chemistry.  You may be having a hard time right now with your change in schedule and need to have your meds adjusted but that doesn't mean that you don't have very valid points.  Don't let him tell you that what is going on with this issue is just a side-effect of what is going on with you internally and it is not real.  

Kes's picture

You seem to have a lot of insight into your bipolar disorder and how it affects you.   If you are in a hypomanic phase just now, it certainly doesn't seem to be affecting your ability to communicate clearly and logically, as per your posts here.  As susanm said, just because of your bipolar, doesn't mean you are wrong.  As someone who suffers with mental illness myself, I think we can often adopt an apologetic attitude because of it, and which doesn't help us.  Like we are saying to ourselves "he is with me despite my illness, so he is being really generous and I shouldn't pick him up on things he does that I don't like".  Something like that, which is a load of rubbish really. 

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

Marriage counselling only helps if both you and your spouse are committed to the counselling, committed to working on and resolving the problems in your marriage, and committed to each other and the marriage itself. It takes a "I want you no matter what attitude" and "I will do whatever it takes to keep you in my life" approach. Anything else is bound to lead to a strained relationship and probable eventual divorce.

I did marriage counselling with my EX husband. Obviously it didn't help. It didn't help because I was not interested in it  - counselling was court ordered as a last ditch attempt to save our marriage. I had already decided I wanted out and only went through the motions of counselling because I was compelled to do so by a court order. I knew my husband wouldn't change his views or only do so long enough to prevent a divorce from happening soon. I didn't want to be temporarily placated... exH is now married to our first marriage counsellor.. So there is that too.

Good luck to you in your counselling with your husband. It CAN work - but only if you both want it too and are committed to each other.

htd_sh's picture

I think my thinking that I have bipolar disorder right now is that he wants to make decision. Fast. All of a sudden. (I think out of anger). I told him I’m not in the right state of mind right now to make big financial change decisions, decisions about cars, etc. (another thing he wants to change- both cars are in my name and we’re acquired prior to marriage and both are SUVS- he was wanted to trade in and get a smaller vehicle for a while). After a while of talking yesterday, we stopped talking. (thank god)! I’m going to be straight and we say I’m not making any decisions until after our first marriage counseling. 

Something that makes me angry about separate finances he said : “you go buy food you want, I’ll buy food for me and that the boys eat” I don’t want to go grocery shopping separately (physically) if we both went.. bought what we both want and split it.. ok.. but I don’t wanna be married to someone who feels we can’t even go to the grocery store together. 

Winterglow's picture

He's being ridiculous. Separate finances can be anything you want it to be. By all means have a joint account for all the bills where both of you put a given amount every month. If you feel that it would make sense to include the groceries then, by all means, do so.

The point is to ensure that your money (after your contribution to the bills) and his money (ditto) are kept separate so that he doesn't go giving all of your money to bm. 

htd_sh's picture

Exactly. There’s a million ways to have separate finances and that’s what I wanted to TALK about when I suggested it. He refuses, all or non.. he now is for sure wanting everything separate. (I think out of anger right now) we parked the conversation because it wasn’t going anywhere and we are both very mentally drained from all of this. 

This morning I decided, I can’t fight anymore. We will go to marriage counseling.. I refuse to act on any decisions until our first appointment.. and when I get home from work today, I will be polite and kind. I have been physically sick (and mentally) over all of this and it’s not worth it. 

tog redux's picture

As soon as you try to set boundaries, he starts talking about divorce. He’s subtly threatening that he wants it his way at all costs. Marriage counseling is a good idea, it’s not reasonable that you aren’t allowed to have any needs in this marriage. 

If separate finances are a dealbreaker for him (which sounds like a control issue to me) then he needs to be willing to discuss other ways of managing the BM issue, and he doesn’t seem to want to discuss that, either. 

Letti.R's picture

Your bi-polar disorder is not the problem.
Your H being a plonker is.

“I love you and I want to be with you but I don’t want this fighting and I can’t live miserably just because I’m married. “

He wants you to bend to his will and what he wants.
He wants to be married to someone, but on his terms and conditions, rather than on terms agreed to by two seperate indivuduals.
This is rather selfish and controlling IMO.

Stop looking at yourself to find the root cause of your marital problems - it's your DH's self-centeredness and inability to see the impact of stepparenting on  you that is the problem.

tog redux's picture


I want to move to England just for the insults.

dysfunctionally_blended's picture

During the time when step life was at an all time low I wanted counseling. To me it was the last ditch effort to save our relationship. I was very near to walking away and the arguments were much more frequent.

One day I made the appt and was telling my SO the date/time when he made the following comment, "Good! I can't wait for this appt so the counselor can tell you how wrong you are."

Was it said out of anger, yes. But I could tell there was some truth behind that statement. 

I was taken aback. It enraged me. After all this he didn't hear anything I had been saying but instead was so hyper-focused on who was right and wrong.

I canceled the appt. Then had the war of all wars. We were either going to figure it out together, rationally with our relationship as number 1, or this was done. I wanted a partner not a dictator and I was willing to walk if that wasn't going to be the case.

And the rest is history.

Like I said in your other post. There was a time finances were separate. Even now we each have our fun money, our discretionary fund we do not have to consult each other on its use. But we save for our future first.

Stop for a moment and think about this simple word - trust. Do you trust your DH has YOUR best interests and the interests of your relationship above all else? 

If the answer is no  - there it is. How can you go all in with little faith? Figure out where the breakdown is. You may need a mediator to help with that. Just make sure his want for counseling is genuine or it will be a waste of time. 


dysfunctionally_blended's picture

Right?! I was like oh you did not just say that!

But it shows the mentality of someone quick to jump into counseling. It is like a validation to them - I could not possibly be wrong and if you hear that from someone else maybe you will finally understand.

That statement was a turning point. I knew that if he didn't hear me it wouldn't work. So I made it VERY clear :) 

DPW's picture

I have bipolar as well and I despise when people who know I have it use it against me when I'm angry about something completely normal. SO used to say to me "Did you take your meds?". I finally told him not to ask me that question anymore in a fight or I'd throat punch him. Being bipolar does not invalidate your feelings or thoughts. 

CantComplain's picture

By the time I got to counseling, I was already checked out. I didn't realize that until I got to counseling, though. So it helped me personally, but not our marriage. 

There were a couple of things I learned from that counselor that I've taken to heart and repeat to anyone who'll listen when they're at a low point: 

1. You can't control others' behavior, you can only control your own. 

2. No one else can make you happy; only you can do that. 

Inasmuch as I've been able to apply those principals, they've served me very very well. I am now happier, wealthier, and in better shape than I've ever been in my life, and I owe it in part to those truths.

Jojab1636's picture

My husband and I are in counseling now.  We both want the marriage to work.  We are committed to making this work.  So  knowing that we are both are on the same page in those terms helps.  I think the counselor has helped HIM in terms of dealing with his daughters.  He would never go on his own. The SD's are making our relationship very hard.  So, it is helping him hear things from someone else and getting suggestions from the counselor on how to handle it/them.  In some sense I wonder if my husband is getting the "okay" from the counselor to set those very necessary boundaries  for the girls and with no guilt. The counsleor is also male which I think helps.  My conclusion for our problems stem from the girls not seeing their parents as a couple.  After their parents divorced (they were pretty young) my now husband was not in a realtionship (for about 10 years. He may have had dates but nothing serious in terms of a relationship) and gave 150% attention to the girls as they grew up.  They each took on different roles in the relationship.  One was the "protector" and the other was his "mini wife".  They are now 29 (single and bitter) and the other is 27 (single, with a son and lives in TX close to her mom and is the mini wife.  She lives with her boyfriend so why she feels she needs to be so involved in Dad's life is a good question ).  It is time for them to move on and develp their own relationships and let their Dad have one.  IT's just the circle of life but they just can't seem to do that.  It also appears that my husband knows that they are not helping our realtionship and sees the games they are playing.  It was the scathing email that I got from one of the SD's after Thanksgiving that I said enough is enough.  He saw it in black and white himself.  As far as finances, we have seperate accounts.  The girls "suck him dry" even though they are of ages I think they should be paying for things themselves.  The house is in both names as well as our "fun" vehicle (we finally got a jeep - it is fun past time for us).  I have a vehicle that is only mine and he has his.  I know my problem was that I wanted the girls to acknowledge their bitterness and grow up.  Reality is, I don't control them.  I only control myself.  That has been frustrating for me because they have been very nasty, bitter, hateful and self centered to me in OUR house.  I knew deep down that I couldn't change them but I felt they needed to at least know they were being hypocrites.  Again, I can't control that either and probably would do no good.

I think counseling is helping us - we shall see!  Good Luck


htd_sh's picture

The mood has changed in the last 24 hours significantly. DH and I both realized this is so many little things that pounded together and escalated. (I’m still fairly guarded). I scheduled our first appointment for Tuesday and I asked him today if that date and time worked for him.. he didn’t really say much and seemed awkward so I asked if this is something he still wants to do. He seemed uncertain. I think he realized the severity of things he said. I said “Wel I’d really like to go- at least once- we might hate it, we might love it. But it’s $25 for us.. what do we have to lose?” He agreed and said “yeah let’s talk about it”. (We were on the phone and I was in the grocery store- so it certainly wasn’t the best time) I’m going to push it as much as I can- as long as he is engaged. I’m not spending $25 for me to do all the talking and him sit in silence. We can do that at home (where I can have wine haha ) But I do think he will end up going and being engaged. 

Ispofacto's picture

Congratulations, you are living with a severe emotional manipulator.  Probably all or part NPD.