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Joined: Dec 2007
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I've only been married 2 1/2 yrs. During this time my husband has threatened to leave me many times.

Background on my Husband: My husband went through a very difficult marriage for 14 years before we where married. During this time his ex used him for financial gain and cheated on him.

My husband doesn't come "out of the blue" and tell me he's leaving me, just after we argue. I know that we shouldn't argue and I've told him that I think we may argue often because his ex hurt him so much. (It's one thing to divorce, it's another to plan it for years for financial gain). I can see how she hurt him badly. He admits that he does guard his heart so that he won't be hurt again.

I took a big financial risk when I married H and also came out of a very bad marriage.

My problem is that H says he never threatened to leave his ex during their marriage - even after all the things she did to him (he was aware of some of it when it was going on - but chose to ignore the signs).

I don't know why he threatens to leave me about 2 - 3 times a month. I believe I give him a lot of love and respect. So why is he threatening me all the time?

I cannot take constant threats. I don't know how to make him stop, except I have recently told him that if he keeps it up, I'm going to tell him to move out. He said that when I say this, I am threatening him.

H now says he will not say he is leaving me again; however he has told me this before and has broken his promise.



Could someone please give me advice on how to stop my husband from threatening to leave anytime something difficult happens?

I would really like to hear a man's point of view - expecially if he has done this/does this to his wife. Why is it said?

Thanks for reading.


Last edited by Zohrie2007; 12/27/07 03:01 PM.
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It sounds like a FOO gut response, something he learned from his family, and he doesn't necessarily understand why he's doing it. Some people withdraw and sulk for days; others punch something or yell. Basically, he's trying to regain control. Threats are a knee-jerk reaction to try to get control of a situation. When he's feeling pressured or about to lose control of a situation, he throws that out there like marbles on a floor to slip someone up and give him the upper hand.

You will have to see it for what it is - nothing personal to you, but more his own problem to own. Only then can you react calmly the next time it happens and say 'fine; then leave. We'll talk again when you're calm.'

You can't let him manipulate the situation this way; it's not healthy for either of you. You will have to be the 'smart' one by taking charge of the situation; and by that I don't mean he's stupid, I mean that you are here, learning about your relationship, and learning how to make it like it used to be.

But honestly, with both of you coming from bad marriages? You should be in some serious counseling to find out what responsibility each one of you had in your previous relationships' problems, to make sure you're not bringing the same problems to this marriage. If he won't go, then go by yourself.

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Not a man, but I think it may be worth a try to use *I* statements when explaining your position on this.

I think validating his response first may help. "I understand wife #1 hurt you and that you're very concerned about being taken advantage of again. Do I understand that right?" Wait for a response.

"I also took a leap of faith when we married, but I believe in us, and I'm in this for the long haul. I am not wife #1. I am a totally different woman. We're going to have issues, and while I'm not planning on going anywhere, I do feel very insecure and threatened when you say that you're going to leave me. I feel as though I am being punished for the things she did to you. I don't feel safe and secure with you right now, and I want you to understand why."

Last edited by Soolee; 12/28/07 09:44 AM.

Sooly

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Z07,

Please take Cat's and Soolee's insight and advice...sure can change your marriage when you both change the way you communicate.

I wanted to suggest, too, something close to what Cat said...and that saying he is leaving/wants to leave the marriage, which happens during an argument, may well mean he wants to leave the conflict.

We really don't want to keep arguing, harming our marriage...harming our spouse and feeling armed. In our hurt, all-or-nothing mindset, we instinctually see it as staying means more pain; leaving frees us from it.

Not reality...not even close to what we want to express. And Cat's right...the urge to control, to stop the emotionally bleeding, is high.

Conflict can feel like invasion...you judging him...him defending himself from you...and each of you feel attacked, discounted, unheard...so you want the conflict to end, not the marriage.

Sure feels like a threat...feels like abandonment is imminent? Sure hit my button when my DH used to do this...and I would do it to him. In recovery, we made a deal that we wouldn't use that fantasy threat (where you go from...if you don't take the trash out, I'm divorcing you)...if either of chose to end the marriage, we would file first, then inform.

Has worked well so far. We slipped in our promise two and half years ago during one argument...and with him saying "Fine, let's get a divorce" and me rounding back, "Fine with me!" We were standing in the kitchen, him cooking something, and the impact of those words, the most feared, hit us both. We stubbornly said nothing, didn't move, either...and finally I said..."I'm really feeling like a little child right now. I don't want to decide my life that way."

And he agreed that he was feeling that way, too. We apologized...hugged...even though we still felt pouty, stubborn and injured...

Something new. He often says aloud now, "I hate conflict." LOL. I know he does. We do it anyway, when necessary...and there's a lot less of it. We've learned how Withdrawal is the furthest away from each other, not conflict. Both hurt a lot.

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My suspicion is that it allows him to regain control of the situation somehow.

By saying this, I suspect that you change your behavior in some way, even if it is to simply quit arguing.

He is most likely afraid. He was stung badly once, and I can understand exactly how he feels, having been in a very similar situation.

But another way to look at it is that your marriage has not been what he thought it would be, and that all the arguing is NOT making it better, in fact, it is getting worse. Simply stating "I am not your ex" "I am not doing 'this, that, the other...', like she did." means nothing, if he is seeing similar ACTIONS, or at least perceiving that he is seeing similar actions. He was hurt badly, and probably sees that divorce would be better than revisiting that time in his life again.

Baseline... he should NOT be threatening. But perhaps, he is trying to tell you that he just is seriously unhappy with your marriage, and can see no other way than to simply leave the situation behind. He probably learned that divorce, while not desired, is a true option. He might think that it has become the lesser of 2 evils... his marriage being the worse choice, as it is currently.

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I also perceive him as a conflict avoider, and I think this statement holds true:

"By saying this, I suspect that you change your behavior in some way, even if it is to simply quit arguing.

He is most likely afraid."

This is why I suggest facing this fear head on, bringing it out into the light, and reassuring him that she isn't going to betray him and leave like his first wife did. I think he may benefit from the reassurance. It may be one of those things a betrayed person really needs to hear - an acknowledgment of that fear, and reassurance that history will not repeat itself. And once may not be enough. We have no idea what kind of damage wife #1 did...

And...it could be that he and his first wife faught a lot, and any type of arguing - even if it's much less than what he experienced with her is going to be exaggerated in his mind and raise fears and red flags all over the place.

You need to address this because there certainly will be conflict, though I think it's important to face that conflict in a way that doesn't make him feel insecure.

There are other ways to resolve conflict. How you're doing it right now is scaring the heck out of him, I think.

Last edited by Soolee; 12/31/07 02:42 PM.

Sooly

"Stop yappin and make it happen."
"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

Me 47
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Married 21 years.
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Thank you to everyone for the thoughtful responses. Cat, we have an appointment on Thursday evening for M counseling. We saw this therapist b/f and my H really liked him. Things got better back then, now I believe our lack of intimacy is directly related to the threats to leave. I'll be bringing that up in counseling too (not mentioned on my prior post).

Loving, I do feel soooo threatened when H says this. I have BIG abandonment fears from my past and when H says he's leaving, I freak. No, I don't stop arguing usually, I do the opposite; I say, "okay, so you're leaving b/c we are not getting along? That's quite a committment you have here to our M." Well, that usually doesn't work. H usually says at that point, "this time I really mean it. I've had it with you and this M!!" If I do retreat to another room, he stops packing (or whatever he is doing) usually. Sometimes he will go into the computer room and play solitare or something and I'll ask H if he is still leaving and he says "No, leave me alone." I find if I don't push H, he stops. But I have to be honest, when I am threatened with such a big life changing thing, I don't usually react in a calm manner. I have to work on that. Maybe the counselor can help me. When you wrote:

Quote:

and that saying he is leaving/wants to leave the marriage, which happens during an argument, may well mean he wants to leave the conflict.

We really don't want to keep arguing, harming our marriage...harming our spouse and feeling armed. In our hurt, all-or-nothing mindset, we instinctually see it as staying means more pain; leaving frees us from it.

Not reality - not even close to what we want to express. And Cat's right - the urge to control, to stop the emotionally bleeding, is high."




This was huge bonk on the head for me. You put exactly what I feel into words.

Soolee, I never thought about this behavior as H being afraid. If I choose to see it this way, I likely won't take it so personally and just walk away. I also know I give H power like Ignored said, and by reacting so strongly to his words, it may encourage H to keep doing it.

This is so much to think about. I've been given angles I have never thought of. I just thought "oh, H is abusing me." I didn't think about what H may be really thinking, just how it affected me.

Additionally, EXW won't leave us alone. She left my H, but she lives 1 mile from us and constantly calls when she cannot pick up their son b/c she is running late from work, calling to ask H to get her discount tickets to something, etc. H has put his foot down not to call him unless its very important. But EXW keeps bothering us. EXW she HATES me, her daughter (my StepD) HATES me, she even said she wanted me to die and rot in the hot place," it's just miserable! Last night the EXW and StepD drove into a ditch, so instead of calling her friends she always brags about having, she calls my H, just as we are leaving to go to Karate we had to change our plans to pick up 10 yr. old StepS. I don't bother my EXH with my problems, but EXW won't leave us alone - it wouldn't be so bad if she and her daughter didn't hate me so much - they even said one time (when it was -10 degrees outside) that me and my DS could not come into the hospital to warm up when SD was in for "cramps" b/c it would upset her too much. Well, H said me and DS were coming in - too bad. H stands up to her, but she just won't get our of our lives. We have visitation schedule with StepS (10 years old), and EXW has garnished H wages - so no need to talk w/him at all - but she keeps finding reasons. Last night, after picking StepS up, H wrote EXW an e-mail telling EXW that unless it was a life threatening matter, to not call him again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I really think her presence in our M causes a lot of stress, not to mention StepD hatred of me (18 yrs) - reason: I married her dad. My H was told the day after we married - me or her - H said StepD could not force him to make that decision and that StepD needed to accept me (I did nothing to her - it was so strange the way this happened - she was actually close to me before we married). Well, StepD then started writing me ugly e-mails and threatening my life....blah, blah.....so, long story short - I could yell out my back window and EXW could probably hear me. Great way to start out a marriage!



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With your StepD, I have found that being the adult in the situation goes a long way toward deflating - that and taking the high road. Meaning, every time she says she hates you or whatever, just calmly smile at her and say, "I'm sorry you're hurting. I wish I could make it better." Don't own her feelings.Just be consistent and give such responses, and don't take the bait, and eventually she'll either grow up and leave the scene, or she'll learn from your mature behavior and start changing hers. Either way, it's not draining you.

And you realize, of course, that she is just repeating what she hears her mother say? You might even want to add that observation into your talks, that you're sorry she and her mom feel you've done them some wrong, but you can't be responsible for their feelings. Let her know that you know, she's just mimicking her mom, most likely to win her mom's approval for not siding with the 'enemy,' but that you don't hold her responsible for it.

Good luck.

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Male Speaking Here
I also have used that line. I am sorry that I have. It is about taking control, but there may be something deeper also. With me it was an intimacy issue. I felt like I was on her "back burner" ( sorry was a chef, I use food refs alot ) and never moved to the front since we had kids. Went to a few sessions with a MC, but she was hurt when the MC agreed with me that I needed more attention, not just sex but true attention. We have been working it our on our own for the past few months and despite a few hiccups, it has gotten better. I think MC helped us learn to communicate without being judgemental. Good Luck, God Bless
Scott


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I have only been married 9 months and have similar problems in that my husband keeps threatening to divorce me. With the help of CP and my mother, I am learning that in some ways it is because I am so volatile right now myself, and he is not feeling safe. He thinks I may leave him (true!)

Maybe your DH's threats are pre-emptive. Certainly this EXW is getting on your nerves. She is treating you like an OW -- just as my DH's ExW treated me! It is very difficult not to get angry with your DH when they do anything to vary from NC outside of children. Even with everything your DH is doing, I can see why you would get upset. In his eyes, perhaps no matter what he does, he has a secret fear you will leave him first because of his idiot EXW.

In your case, there is a child, so this is even more complex. In the Harleys book Fall in Love, Stay in Love, they discuss blended families. Your husband must defend you first even in the case of his child. You must be a united front. I suspect even that is a problem, right? He isn't being strong with his child.

The thought I have is that all communication regarding the child should go through you, or at least that EXW should be made aware that your DH will no longer pick up her calls unless you are their to listen in on speakerphone. All emails, cc'd to you. If she won't do it, then she needs to be aware your husband will forward each and every message to you.

She also needs to have some sort of consequence whenever she calls for a non-critical reason. For instance, husband can say, "That information is on the internet. Goodbye." "We have plans. I will call your friend XYZ to get you out of the ditch." Etc. Perhaps you two could brainstorm a list of actions to keep boundaries up between yourself and this unbalanced woman?


Me 40 DH 43 Multiple EAs. DH has learned the diff btn platonic and "not just friends." M 5/07 My first, his third DS 6 (with biofather as of 9/07, shared custody) I'm happier since MB. 2/28/08 Recommitment to marriage by both

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