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AgapeDoc, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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My husband of 5 years and I couldnt agree on how best to help

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My husband of 5 years and I couldn't agree on how best to help his 26 year old son get out of our home and become independant and so he me left last week with his son and now will not communicate with me. I don't know how deal with this and mend my marriage if my husband won't communicate. What do I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  AgapeDoc replied 5 years ago.
You are in a very difficult situation. I have worked with others in similar situations - I tell you this because sometimes it helps to know your not the "only one".

Anyway, it seems that your husband is not handing things well and not "negotiating in good faith" as it were. My guess is he loves you very much, but he too is at a loss as to how to handle the situation so he shuts down (many people do this - especially men).

So I would suggest that, if you want to improve your relationship with him, that you start small and try and make small changes - baby steps as it were. Try and think of his shutting down not as a problem, but as a solution that doesn't work. When he shuts down, he is saying something.... he is saying, "I'm stuck, I'm hurting and I don't know what to do. I want to do something, but I'm mad and if I do anything, I may hurt someone's feeling more than if I shut down".

The son is not the problem either. The problem is the problem. Soooo....... Approach your husband with a plan that may go something like this.... work on the solution. AND... do it one step at a time. The solution is the 26 year old becoming more independent. Start taking small steps to cultivate his independence. it will take a while and you may need a relationship coach or a therapist to coach you and your husband, but once you start you will be on your way.

For example, the 26 year old should do some of the following (depending on your situation).... pay some rent, do things around the house, etc. Remember baby steps - it's taken 26 years to get to this place, you won't get a solution in a few weeks - but you will get a solution.

Include the 26 year old in the plan - work as a team. I don't know what you think so far, but I can tell you this has worked for others in similar situations. It may be a good idea to seek out that relationship coach or solution focused therapist.

Please let me know how it goes.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have already done the things that you suggested, asked him to pay rent, asked him to help around the house and even came up with a plan to help him transition to his own place, which my husband agreed with, but he took adavantage didn't save ay money which we gave him the opportunty to do by not charging rent for a specified amount of time and when the time came for him to move out, he said he didn't have he money and this is when my husbnd moved out with him. His son moves from one family member or friend to another and has done since he was 18. The other problem is he has a 3 year old son whom my husband and I love very much and try to protect and give some stability to, but he uses his son to get what he wants because no one is going to mke a3 yer old homeless. I'm worried about the effect this is having on my grandson. I agree that my husband shuts down when he doesn't know what to do and in the last couple of days he has started to talk to me again. He says he wants to et his son squared away then he will work on our issues.
Expert:  AgapeDoc replied 5 years ago.
Ok... It sounds like the plan you had to "cultivate" some responsibility in the 26 year old has not worked well. Based on what you have said, it seems like the plan was not implemented with consistency. Furthermore, it seems like the 26 year old is manipulating things quite effectively.

I'm happy that your husband is starting to speak to you again and I appreciate that you recognize that the reasons I pointed out "may" the the cause of his shutting down.

I must tell you that you are not the first family that I have worked with in this or a very similar situation (as I mentioned previously). Many others have had challenges implementing the plan with fidelity - it's not easy - if it was, you would have done it already.

So...... it may not be what you want to hear, but based on my experience, you need to stay with the plan and make it consistent. As I mentioned include the 26 year old and make no secrets about the goals of your actions.

It will take effort and time, but in my experience, those that follow through find success.

That's about the best answer I can offer in this forum - as I mentioned you may benefit from a relationship coach or a life coach, but that is not my role here - fortunately there are many out there, just check the internet.

I do wish you much success. And I firmly believe you will make it - you've already taken the first steps. If my effort and answers have been helpful, please click on the green accept button so I can get credit for my answer. Again, I wish you the best and please let me know how it goes :)
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