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What consequences are acceptable

NoBigDeal's picture

I have set boundaries with DH of how blank makes me feel.  But I'm uncertain of what consequence is appropriate for if he does the thing I cant accept. 

I've tossed around ideas but I dont want to punish or retaliate,  but rather send a firm message Im serious to the degree of what ever it takes  for you to stop doing it. 

Because I've decided I am not going to tolerate these dysfunctional toxic behaviors in my life.  They will destroy my mental health. and DESTROY MY LOVE IN MY MARRIAGE. 

So what are good consequences?  I consider sleeping in the other room for one month, not allowing DH to touch or see me (you know,) the entire time.  But that probably wouldn't matter.  Or the silence treatment,  but that's childish.  I just can't seem to think of any good consequences that are effective and not retaliatory, childish. 

What about inviting over a family member or very close friend  (one willing) to discuss the issue with 3 parties.  Public discussion of what he's doing to me.  Bare his rear. Like a successfully married couple . Or our minister?  I've got to have a consequence.

tog redux's picture

It really depends on what "blank" is. Punishing someone by withholding sex because they left dishes by the sink would be inappropriate - but not having sex because he's too forceful with you or something like that, would be appropriate.

I don't personally think "baring his ass" in front of anyone would be good for your marriage.  And yes, silent treatment is just being toxic.

So, it would be easier to give advice if you shared what the behaviors are that you are upset with.

NoBigDeal's picture

The blank is this. 

Cousin calls says bio this bio that.  All devastating knews.  Because cousin and ex bio are enmeshed drunk high buddies.   Narcissist triangulation.  It's how ex gets to DH because  he went no contact.

Then he checks out mentally  physically  emotionally. 

Same thing when the drug addict son calls and says dad I'm in jail for attacking  mom . Lie  lie lie.....then dh he hangs up and goes away where ever he goes...checked out.  Slept naked beside him after that info couple  nights  he didn't  even notice. Now tell me how do I address this TOXIC BULL.....CRAP?  

I've spelled it out in plane English. 

tog redux's picture

Gotcha. I think you have to address it directly with him.

"When you speak to so-and-so about the ex, you check out for days and you don't even notice when I'm throwing myself at you for sexytime. It makes me feel unloved and unwanted and it's killing our marriage. What are we going to do about this?"

Kes's picture

I am not in favour of any "punishments" or retaliation for misdemeanors between couples in a relationship, and the silent treatment is abusive and plain nasty.   Tell your partner what you are objecting to in his behaviour or treatment of you, tell him how it makes you feel.   If you invite your friend over, DH may feel you are ganging up on him.  Marital counselling would be better.  He needs to understand how unhappy he is making you and that your relationship is in jeopardy because of it. 

hereiam's picture

When I saw the title, I thought it was about a kid.

This is a grown man, who apparently is not, and does not want to be, the person that you thought he was, or that you want him to be.

I'm sorry that you are going through this, I know that it's hell, but he seems to want to stay enmeshed with his family and as you said before, his former life. I believe you also stated that he only left BM because he thought it would make her stop drinking, that he still loved her.

It seems that he has some healing and stuff to figure out on his own. Whether he wants to or not, is ultimately up to him.

You have stated that you've been to 3 marriage counselors (I think), has he gone to counseling on his own?

It seems there are things he needs to deal with, outside of the marriage, first.

Trying to force him to behave as you want, does not seem to be working.

NoBigDeal's picture

Yes he's been  alone but it actually  made things worse. For us both.  Not sure why.

He does read books about  boundaries and then gets withdrawn.   

I'm suggesting he go again. 

justmakingthebest's picture

You don't punish your spouse. You work together to come to a good resolution.

Frankly I am just appalled that someone would "plot" way to punish their spouse- withholding sex, embarrass him publicly... 

You should just divorce him if this is your line of thinking. This is not healthy in a marriage at all!

NoBigDeal's picture

I've never done anything like that ever. But I've never been  married to a codependent enmeshed spouse  either. 

Who doesn't seem to understand  his withdrawal  from the relationship. He freaking checks out.

Rags's picture

I am not a fan of hints, subtle manipulation or tolerance. I find the direct approach to be far more effective..  I would confront it directly  Just tell him what you will accept and what you won't and let him know that you will not tolerate deviations from reasonable behavior from him or anyone else.

Confronting his crap whenever he pulls it should eventually hammer home your position.  If he makes the mistake of pulling his crap when others are around, calling him out on it tends to have a far stronger impact on his bullshit behavior than if he pulls his crap in private.  No quarter, zero tolerance and .... lather, rinse, repeat.

Good luck.


NoBigDeal's picture

All very good points. 

We have talked in all 3 counseling sessions about how he ...(withdrawals emotionally,  physically,  and mentally) when he talks to his kids.  Because they refuse to launch because they feel the need to baby sit their drunk mother. They live with her for free dont work, etc.

The sd crys wo is me, the son just got out of jail for attacking his drunk mother and is being  prosecuted by her.

This news came to him via his cousi . (The flying monkey)  for the toxic bio mom.  Bio feeds HUS cousin, cousin  FEEDS TOXIC koolaid to him.  He then checks out on me this time for an entire week. Cousin text him befor a romantic weekend we had planned,  then filled him in more 10 minutes after we got home.  RUINED ABSOLUTELY RUINED OUR WEEKEND AND WEEK.

He knows exactly how I feel.  I said you've got to tell them to stop the ......EX THIS EX THAT , THAT  YOU DONT WANT  TO HEAR IT.   Unfortunately I think he wants to hear it.

So is it appropriate for me to say this?  I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD TEXT OR CALL YOUR COUSINS, PLURAL AND YOUR KIDS AND Inform THEM YOU DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT (EX) period.  I dont want to know anything please. *do it in front of me where I can know he did it.

I don't  expect to control his conversation,  but those bits of information  keep him depressed, which depress me and makes our life about THEIR POISON.


Yes we've discussed this very thing in counseling.  He just doesn't get it.  

Its destroying my LOVE, PASSION  EXCITEMENT.  Then the argument  over it destroys his passion,  love  excitment,  passion. 

So lay it out like that?


justmakingthebest's picture

I think that being up front and honest is the way to go. I don't suggest that you tell him to call people in front of you like he is a child. That would piss me off to no end.

What he needs to do is next time they bring it up- shut them off/ cut off the converstation/rudely interupt- as soon as they mention her name and say- I don't want to hear about it and hang up the phone. He may have to do this several times until they understand but at the end of the day the point gets across.

Survivingstephell's picture

Research the 180.  It's from the Divorce Busting book.  You can talk until you're blue in the face and you won't get anywhere.   He needs to come to terms about his loser kids and ex. He needs to work on accepting he can't fix it, save them or sacrifice his life to them.  That's what he needs to work on in therapy.  IMO. Once he has done that , there will be room for a marriage to you. 

Survivingstephell's picture

The 180 really is for you. You sound so wrapped up in the outcome that you are not giving him any room to try to succeed. He will fail and how he handles those failures will be his lessons.   You care way more than he does.  Take a personal break and focus on yourself, thereby allowing him to catch his breath from your pressure to change instantly.  
You married a man with some huge toxic baggage. Many of us here did. I did. It took my DH working solo with a qualified therapist to accept that bad choice to marry and have 4 kids with a bad person. That is on him to heal from.   I just wanted out drama to be over but my wanting to rush it made things worse.   You can't have a healthy marriage with a man dealing with toxic family.  

Do you both agree that putting the marriage first is most important?  Can he say that outside of therapy?  When he is struggling with them , can you  stand there and ask him if his "solution to the current crisis " is supporting the marriage to you and leave him to think about it without adding your opinion?  

Merry's picture

HE has to want to fix this. All you can do is protect yourself. When he goes down the rat hole of depression and withdrawal from you, walk away from it. Find something you like to do, and preferable out of the house so you don't have to be around him. You've either had a series of terrible counselors, or he's not been willing to hear or act on what they have to say.

"DH, I'm not going to let your depression drag me down, so I'm going to do xyz. If you want to talk, I'll be back by 8. If you don't want to talk, I'd appreciate it if you just kept to yourself until you're ready to include me in your life."

He either will or won't include you in his life. But YOU need to have a life that doesn't revolve around him.

Ispofacto's picture

He needs Al-Anon.

And what Merry said is right.  If you can stand to live with him.


hereiam's picture

I said you've got to tell them to stop the ......EX THIS EX THAT , THAT  YOU DONT WANT  TO HEAR IT.   Unfortunately I think he wants to hear it.

And that's the problem, he does want to hear it.

You've said that you married quickly, so perhaps you didn't realize he was like this and perhaps this is not the relationship for you (if he doesn't want to change anything).

shamds's picture

There seems to be a lack of communication between op and her partner/spouse because you are suggesting or plotting no sex for a month, no looking or touching you for a month and sleeping in another room for a month. 

When you marry, you expect to be getting lots of sex (hopefully), but you don’t expect a spouse to be manipulatively scheming to deny marital relationn or intimacy with your spouse as a repercussion for an issue.

marriage is full of issues and if you feel you wanna play this manipulative game of no sex, no intimacy and sleep in separate bedrooms and simply can’t talk or act like grown ups, then you have no business being married...

NoBigDeal's picture

I said tossed around the idea.   And didn't  really think that was  right myself.  As for talking like grown adults. I've done that with not much success.

Hes afraid  of offending everyone  but me.  Our counselor said he needed to establish boundaries that (Clearly say please stop talking about ex).  And boundaries about constant negativity pouring into our new life. And the triangulation  problem he participated in.  

So to those calling this manipulation clearly haven't been counseled on enmeshedment and codependency.  This is a BOUNDARY issue. 

hereiam's picture

But HE HAS TO SET THOSE BOUNDARIES. You cannot do it for him, it won't work. He has to WANT to set those boundaries.

You can set boundaries with him, you cannot set his boundaries with his family, for him.

If he is not willing to set those boundaries, you have to decide if you are willing to stay.

To what extent did you know about his enmeshment and moodiness before you married him? Had you known it was this bad, would you have married him?

shamds's picture

And disney daddy type issues. We don’t need counselling to understand it.

but honestly if you are at the point of suggesting repercussions for your spouse, you obviously haven’t been firm enough in laying down the law.

thats why when it comes to skids behaving badly vs you complaining, he lets you be expendable and skids get off basically scott free. 

I made it very clear 1.5 yrs ago that my husband clearly wasn’t interested in protecting us from the abuse and disrespect of skids, he clearly didn’t respect me as his wife or have our kids best interests at heard and what kind of husband or father allows his elder kids to bully and torture us and our little kids this way and since my husband wasn’t interested in change, that divorce was the onky option now.

that scared him massively and he immediately rained hell on his son who is one of the biggest issues why we have so many problems because my husband turned a blind eye for so long to the emotional abuse he did and enjoyed. There are still issues but hubby knows i have disengaged...

plenty of us here deal with our partners or husbands exwives and skids not respecting boundaries, we pretty much all deal with it. 

NoBigDeal's picture

There are personal boundaries and marital boundaries.  He has agreed to set them but keeps falling off the wagon.  My question is and was.  

What are the  consequences for falling backwards?  Divorce right off the bat?  No I think not.  I dont believe in running /divorce out the gate that's ridiculous thinking.  

So I expressed my concern  for  his tolerance and allowance of TOXINS INTO OUR LIFE.  Via flying monkeys, etc.  How he checked out after our AWESOME weekend to barely nodding in the h as ll as he passes.

Later today he apologized to me for his absence  and withdrawl , he said he can't fix them, and he just needed to get on with his life.  I noticed he had been reading his book on boundaries.  

I just hope it eventually stivks.


hereiam's picture

Okay, but is this "right off the bat"? Hasn't this been happening your whole marriage? Aren't you exhausted? Is it worth it?

Maybe he just needs space and time to deal with his demons. Maybe you should give him that. Maybe that's the consequence.

NoBigDeal's picture

Well we talked about flying monkeys how they are the megaphone for the ex who was cut off.  No contact.  The   son cut off due to heroin addiction.  

I explained how others unknowingly can be used to send guilt messages.  Or knowingly.  So he told his sister that he didn't want to hear about the ex or sons drug drama.  That it bummed him out and affected him and his marriage and to please communicate that message to the cousin whom she was going to call that day.

Wow 2 birds one stone.   He came back to reality   snapped out if his funk.  Yes I'll give space and plenty if grace where I see effort and progress. 

I suppose the consequence was "The continued discussion ".  The discomfort in hearing it all over again.   I never bring up the past argument if its been settled,  learned that was valuable resolution tool. 

Yes I'll cut slack.