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  1. #11
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    Was it useful to you? If not; why not?

    DH and I attended counseling before we got married 2 yrs ago mainly to discuss issues around the fact that he has a DS and an ex that has made our life very difficult (and still does but that's for another time!). It was the best thing we could have done. It made us really listen to each other and express thoughts and feelings with the added benefit of a third party being able to clarify for us what were the underlying issues.
    There was a stage where we started to consider not getting married and it really was a tough, but here we are expecting our first little bubba in 3 weeks and couldn't be more excited. We attended all but one session together and got some great tips on how to communicate effectivly once we got home.

    And what strategies did you take way from the experience that my DP and I may implement on our own, if he is reluctant to go?

    One of the main things we learnt was to really listen to each other and for me say what you mean don't give him a vague answer to a question or make a statement expect him to make the same conclusion that you are wanting him to. In my case I realised rather than making statements like "I don't care, do what you want" I had to make it very clear to him what I did want and what I expected.

    Another great thing was if an arguement was going no where was to stop it. Don't keep going because it is likely that it will just keep going around in circles, where you both aren't listening or aren't making your point of view clear. Try writing in dot point what it is you are trying to say, leave it, and make a decision together to discuss those issues at another time when you both have the time to sit down and foucus on what each other is saying.
    Make a statement, get your DH to say back to you what he has heard you say and what he thinks you mean, and then clarify if it's not quite right.

    Hope that all made sense and was some help Wish you the best of luck with it.

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  3. #12
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    Firstly hugs to you, relationship problems are never easy to deal with.

    My DH & I went to counselling last year because I got fed up with him giving me 'silent treatment' for days on end after a fight, and he would never make the first move to end the silence. A very minor issue in comparison to yours, but one that had us headed down a bad road and needed to be sorted out. We had to learn to fight fair and resolve conflicts properly.

    Was it useful to you? If not; why not?
    It was the best thing we could've done. Dealing with the silent treatment ended up being just the tip of the iceberg. The counsellor was wonderful and drew out all the things that DH had been bottling. She used an analogy of 'marbles in the jar'. Everytime my DH got annoyed & didn't raise it with me, a marble went in the jar. Eventually the jar was full and could hold no more, and the jar exploded- thus causing a huge fight and the silent treatment that followed. Then a new jar would begin and they whole cycle repeats...

    She taught us a number of techniques that were very helpful, and have made us more considerate to one another. In particular, speaking in a way that gets the other person seeing things from our perspective, rather than locking horns & going around in circles.

    I really liked our counsellor. She gave good objective opinions and never took sides. If you're in Sydney, send me a PM and I'll give you her details.


    And what strategies did you take way from the experience that my DP and I may implement on our own, if he is reluctant to go?


    #1- We now make a conscious effort not to do the things that lead to adding another marble in the jar.

    This is only possible once you know what causes these marbles in the first place, and that means a big "vent" session to start with, air all your dirty laundry so-to-speak. Your partner needs an uninterrupted opportunity to speak his mind & be honest about what he isn't happy with, no matter how minor. And of course, the same applies to you. You cannot get defensive & start an argument while your partner is unloading, nor can he do that to you.

    It is confronting doing this in front of a 3rd party, but it gets easier with each session and the benefit is that they keep things on track and make sure you both play by the rules. I worried that my DH would clam up & say nothing, but once the counsellor got him started, she couldn't shut him up. He was singing like a canary! Once he's shared his 'dislikes' you need to acknowledge them, try to see them from his perspective and commit to changing your behaviour (and vice-versa).

    #2- When a marble is added to the jar, it has to be discussed that same day. If it happens in a public place, we wait until we have a moment alone (in the car, or back at home).

    #3- We raise the issue of the marble in a non-inflammatory way. There are no accusations such as "You did this..." or "You are a ....". Instead we say how the 'marble' has made us feel.

    Example: the 'marble' is that I loaned money to a friend without telling DH. Previously he would've ranted something like "What do you think you're doing, how is that person supposed to pay it back, etc" which naturally would lead to a yelling match with me defending my actions & my friend. Now he would calmly say "I felt betrayed & unimportant when you loaned our money to your friend without consulting me".

    Using that non-attacking language means that instead of getting defensive, I can understand why he's upset and acknowledge that perhaps I shouldn't make a decision like that on my own. Its a trivial example but starting your sentences with "I feel..." or "I felt..." will work for any situation. A person can't argue with how you feel, there is no right or wrong in that!

    Since we finished our counselling (last Oct), we've had no arguments at all. Yes there's been marbles, but dealing with them as I described above means we sort them out calmy & rationally. No yelling, no insults, no storming off and moving into a separate bedroom.

    My DH didn't think counselling would be useful and he refused to go at first. He agreed after I'd already been to a session alone... but that nearly backfired because he then assumed the counsellor & I had built a rapport and she would be on my side. Be careful about that!

    Your DP may be worried that he'll be painted as a 'bad guy' and all his flaws will be revealed. I suggest you approach him with something like this- "I want to better myself for our relationship and have organised to see a counsellor, but he/she really needs to hear your side of the story in order to help me properly".

    You're right that things shouldn't be so hard. I hope he agrees to go with you, so you can build a stronger foundation for your relationship. Good Luck!

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  5. #13
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    DH and I had counselling a few years ago but we both feel it did not help us much. I think this is due to us both being extremely private and not really letting the issues surface. We also had our toddler with us, which I think is unhelpful.

    Last year the $hit really hit the fan for us. We found a website called marriage builders really helpful. It has taken months of work but things are loads better between us.

    I think you need to find what works for you and your style of communication. I

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  7. #14
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    Aw Mim, big to you. DH is also very private, so private there is a lot he doesn't share with ME, and I have considered counselling so that someone else can draw him out... So I will be interested to hear what others have to say on the subject. I guess as with individual counselling, its vital you have someone you connect with, someone you BOTH connect with.

    Have you spoken to him lately about going back? Do you think the first counsellor will have put him off trying again?

    i'm putting on the kettle as I type, wanna cuppa?

    ETA I know you asked about counselling but I feel for you with your visa issues,cos i have been there too. Do you think, if it was all sorted out already, it would change your thoughts about leaving in any way? You might not find it any easier... But I hate to think of you feeling trapped by bureaucracy, if it was me I would resent his behaviour even more just because i knew I couldn't leave. You can't have that long left to wait, dunno if you took the same path i did but i had a two-year wait...
    Last edited by Gothel; 03-01-2012 at 15:20.

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  9. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindylou78 View Post
    Your DP may be worried that he'll be painted as a 'bad guy' and all his flaws will be revealed. I suggest you approach him with something like this- "I want to better myself for our relationship and have organised to see a counsellor, but he/she really needs to hear your side of the story in order to help me properly".
    I like that! I like it a lot very non-threatening for him to hear

    Quote Originally Posted by KAnn View Post
    We found a website called marriage builders really helpful. It has taken months of work but things are loads better between us.
    KAnn, i'm going to check out that website if you don't mind, thanks for sharing

    Sorry if I'm crashing your thread Mim

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  11. #16
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    Sparklydreamer is offline I might lack sleep, but I can dream...
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    I didn't have time to go through our strategies before, but here you go:

    We had a few different things we were working through. One was trust issues. I won't go into the personal stuff, but I had big problems with trusting him. Here's what the counsellor said -

    Trust issues

    In order to trust, there needs to be total honesty. We both need to think about what situation or circumstances would make us tempted to cheat. Share this with our partner. If we ever find ourselves in a high risk scenario or temptation we need to commit to telling our partner right away instead of acting on it. That takes away the secrecy thrill and makes it seem more mundane. It also makes it real - you can see that it would hurt your partner, that its not worth it. And lastly, we need to tell our partner if we do mess up and cheat. And we need to fess up within 2 days to avoid the further betrayal and humiliation that comes with repeatedly being lied to. That way you're just dealing with the one incident.

    This system applies to anything the two of you have agreed is a betrayal eg pron use, emotional affairs.

    Intimacy

    We had felt disconnected. Our counsellor suggested the following action (it sounds kind of silly but it did help us) -

    Touch eachother at least 3 times a day. A hug, a massage, foot rub, kiss, caress on the arm, anything as long as it was loving physical touch. Every day. We each had to initiate 3. At first it was deliberate, forced action. But the more we touched the more we wanted to.

    Every day have a 2 min conversation of 'how are you going today?'. On a weekend, stop and ask this at some point during the day. Once each. On a work day, DH would call once at a convenient time for him and we would do the quick, 'how's the day going?'. 2 min max so it didn't take up much work time. Expand if needed at home after work. I thought this sounded a bit silly. But it really did feel nice.

    Oh, and do a 'about me now' interview. Interview eachother: favourite food, movie, colour, current favourite hobby or interest, who are your closet friends, dream holiday destination, dream job, what would you love to see happen in the next 5 years. Write the answers down. Refer to it come birthday or christmas time to help choose thoughtful gifts. Do it each year so you keep up with changes in each other's plans and thoughts.

    Simple things. But they did make us feel closer and more loving again

    Every year on our anniversary we are to remind ourselves of these and start them up again if we've fallen off the intimacy wagon. ( which we do).

    There was more, but I don't want to rabbit on too much.

    Hope that helps a bit.
    Last edited by Sparklydreamer; 03-01-2012 at 15:45.

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  13. #17
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    Hello,

    Sorry to drop in on your thread and go slightly off topic but I wanted to share some info that others may not know about applying for permanent residency status.

    From the website: www.immi.gov.au

    "The Family Violence Provisions of Australia's migration program allow certain people applying for permanent residence to continue with their application after the breakdown of their marriage or defacto relationship"
    The provisions were introduced in response to community concerns that some partners might remain in an abusive relationship because they believed they may be forced to leave Australia if they ended the relationship.


    I'm not saying this relates to your personal situation but just thought it was good info to share.

    Regards

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  15. #18
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    MuminMind is offline Bubhub Award Winner - 2011- Most Helpful Member, Member I'd Most Like To Meet, Most Community Minded Thread, Best Potential Moderator and Newbie of the Year Awards
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    Wow, thank you so, so much for all your wonderful replies. I am so grateful for you lovely people taking the time to write extensive posts with lots of valuable information.

    And MrsTiggyWinkle: There is no such thing as crashing my threads, or going OT for that matter!

    I am just happy that this thread can be useful for others on the forum. And judging by the nature of a lot of the current threads on this forum, I think a lot of us are grateful to have this information accessible.

    Again, thank you all so much!

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