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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Extensive experience fostering family relationships through consultation / counseling.
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Horse or Divorce

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I have been with my husband for 13 years (married 8 years) and at first was very happy. He is a good man, with good values, but lets me do everything around the house and with the children while he pursues his rugby and associated social events. I have a horse who I adore as it is my only 'me' time but I have to fit it in around the children or they have to come with me.We have the odd 'family' day which I enjoy but as far as being a couple, we havent been for years. Our sex life is non existent and apart from going to friends events as a couple thats about it. However, I got into alot of debt without telling my husband (stupid I know), we are both on good money & I thought I could manage it. he recently found out and wanted a divorce, he is also demanding the horse be sold to pay off some of the debt. I was left a large inheritance so have the money to clear the debt, but he says the horse has to go to show I've changed and teach me a lesson as some of the debt was for the horse, however I tried to give up for 3 weeks and apart from the kids felt there was nothing left in my life. we agreed to try again but nothing has changed, we are the same as we were before, there is no intimacy, not even a hug, he helps put the kids to bed but only because the rugby season has finished, when it starts again he'll be out training from teatime till bedtime and I'll be back at work by then (on maternity leave at mo). I dont know how to fix this marriage as everytime I try to broach the subject he flips and throws the debt issue back at me which I accept has broken his trust, but he does not want to accept that there are other issues which I dont know if they can be fixed as easily. what should I do?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Hello and thanks for using!

I apologize for the delay in getting an answer (looks like you've had to relist it a number of times) and I'm also sorry you're going through such a difficult time.

It sounds like you've tried to talk with him about the situation several times, but he's not as open to discussing it as you'd like. Is that correct? I wonder if the two of you might benefit from couples counseling. Counseling is a safe place to share feelings with one another and work toward a common goal with the guidance of a professional. It sounds like it might be an appropriate place for the two of you to be able to address each issue separately.

You're right -- the debt is an issue, but certainly not the only one going on here. It's important for him to recognize that it happened for a reason and that underlying problem is the one that truly needs to be addressed. If you're capable of resolving the debt, I'd suggest you tell him you will take care of it and show him the balanced charges when they are all paid. How you go about doing that should be a joint discussion, but the horse is obviously worth much more than the money he could bring. Explain that fact to him and compare it to something that has deep, personal value to him (rugby?) I do think selling the horse would put an even further divide between you at this point. Again, this is a conversation that may be best had in a counseling session if he's not open to hearing it.

Try approaching the subject again after the kids are in bed and you're not distracted by anything else. Frame the conversation positive -- "I love you and I want us to work on this together. To do that, we might need some ground rules for how to have this discussion without losing focus and ending back where we started." Then ask him what he thinks might help you to communicate about this more effectively (if he contributes to the process, he may be more likely to abide by the rules). Once you get a few rules in place (things such as don't interrupt, try to be open to hearing each person's perspective, be open & honest with one another about how we're feeling, etc.) see how the conversation goes. If it doesn't go well, ask if he'd be willing to try a session of counseling together for the sake of your marriage and the kids.

The financial issue is probably the most significant piece that warrants attention at this point, but the two of you definitely need to spend some time addressing the other issues at hand (the time you need for you, your relationship as a couple, sex life, etc.) Perhaps once you begin to communicate more effectively, you'll be able to address each of these issues together. It may take some time to learn how to brainstorm ways to reconnect (e.g., date nights? weekend away?) but it would be very worthwhile in the long run.

In the meantime, try to schedule some "me" time into each week. Even if it's just 1/2 hour of reading by yourself or a walk around the block, that time is so important. You'll return more refreshed, energized, and a better mom / wife because of it. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget how important that time is.

I wish you the best of luck! I hope all goes well for you with that discussion.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Tried again tonight. He keeps going on about doing an advert for my Horse because of how much he is costing each month, so I started to say that the horse is worth more to me than any amount he would bring and that by selling him is punishing me and not going to make things right between us, as there are other issues that need to be dealt with. I also compared it to his rugby and what that costs and all he said was "Who works the overtime" he does but only cos I have to look after the kids or I would. He just won't listen, all he talks about is the debt I caused, that my inheritance should not be used to clear the debt, that I should take responsibility and sell the horse to clear some of the debt. I feel as though every reason I put forward, he is not listening and just using the debt issue to basically control me and what I do. I doubt very much Id get him to go to marriage counselling as Ive mentioned it before and he said the only person that can change the way he feels about me is him, but he can't see that Im beginning to hate him too.

My goodness... He's very angry, isn't he? You're running in circles with him. A different conversation is in order before you revisit this... How are the two of you going to communicate effectively? Did you try setting some ground rules for how you'll both respect each other's feelings / ideas and be open to hearing them out (even if the immediate reaction is to disagree)? May be worth a shot...

I do wonder how he would feel if he read this. Would it be an eye opener for him to hear you use the phrases you're using with me? "Not listening," "control me," and "hate" are strong and indicative of a relationship that needs some help. He needs to hear how serious this problem has become and how it's beginning to spin off into a variety of other issues. I'm not sure he's able to do that at this point given what you've shared.

What would happen if you approached the counseling option from a different angle -- For example, instead of saying you want to work on this in counseling (somehow he thinks this means you want a professional to change his mind?) you could say, "I'm afraid. I see us going down a scary road and I think we need some help to make sure we don't get to a place where we can't bounce back. This is becoming a serious problem for our marriage and our family and to me, that's worth asking for help to try to make right again." Might he be more open to the idea in that scenario? The idea isn't to get a counselor to change his mind -- The counselor will serve to facilitate your communication and help you to see things from an outside perspective (something that's often difficult to do from within the relationship). You could ask him to just go to 1-2 sessions with you to see how it goes. Worth a shot?
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