My husband and I separated one month after our wedding last year.
We’d regularly expressed our deep mutual love.
However, during our engagement, we experienced work stress, family illnesses, drama, and dependency on us.
We sought individual counselling and saw a relationship counsellor together, which revealed in-depth details of my husband's childhood.
His family history’s riddled with abuse, betrayal, mental illness, and divorce.
He feels he has to be the caregiver for his whole family and to please everyone to maintain equilibrium, even at the expense of our happiness.
Unfortunately, I didn’t understand this.
Our final argument was explosive on my part, but never violent. Yet I was asked to leave the marital home we shared with my mother-in-law.
The counsellor stressed that my husband’s caregiving/pleasing were leading to burnout, and I’d become the target for blame.
For six months, I tried to communicate my willingness to work things out, while also giving my husband space.
Suddenly, he pressured me to sign a separation agreement. He became hostile, angry, verbally hurtful, then stopped communication.
I reached out to his friends and family members, and was either yelled at, blamed, or ignored.
I was served a no-contact restraining order, regarding his friends/family.
It’s a year since we separated and I still haven't given up on him.
I didn’t understand the terrible cycle of betrayal, mental illness, and divorce while I was in it, but completely get it now.
How do I reach him?
He has to be the one to reach you.
Currently, it’s easier for him to blame all that went wrong on you.
As you describe things, it’s how this family carries on without changing any dysfunctional behaviour.
He has to recognize that this keeps him from the kind of love he once felt for you… and from creating his own, different story.
You can’t return to that toxic scene unless he breaks away completely. And that may not be possible.
Meanwhile, move on. Be open to new dating possibilities and eventually a new, healthy relationship.
Several months ago I let a friend of seven years who was between jobs, move in with me. I helped him out with rent for the first month.
My other roommate and I soon discovered, firsthand, that he had a violent temper.
We very straightforwardly told him this was grounds for him to find his own place as he’d made us both very uncomfortable.
He sadly accepted but began a breakdown of my trust, friendship, and financial security.
He now owes me beyond a thousand dollars. He keeps saying he'd like to see me but then only asks for things.
I’ve spent three months trying to stabilize financially.
If it weren't for the money and his emotional instability, I’d say I want nothing to do with him.
But I don't want him to hurt himself, and frankly, I want him to pay me back eventually.
Or, should I accept that I gave too much to someone I shouldn't have, and now have to accept the consequences?
End of Friendship
You’ve come to your own logical answer.
Your kind nature doesn’t want to cause him more emotional distress. But self-preservation calls for staying distant, so that you don’t end up giving him more money. He’s unlikely to pay you back.
When he calls, if you sense he’s in an emotional crisis, urge him to contact a distress-centre and get professional help.
That’s the best support you can give him.
I like this guy a lot but his dad doesn't like my family (because of some type of family heirloom we "stole").
The guy really likes me too. What should I do?
This is no small obstacle.
If your family did unlawfully take something belonging to his family, resentments will run deep.
Depending on your ages, both families could make it very difficult for you to get together.
Think through whether this is an act of rebellion on your parts, or you two know you have something more than just a “like” going on.
Then ask yourselves, if it is enough to risk huge family fights, being barred from being friends, possible police involvement over the so-called theft?
Ask to be told the story… what was actually taken, when, can it be returned or the situation resolved?
If it’s too much to handle, wait until you’re old enough and strong enough to deal with the fallout.
Tip of the day:
When toxic family rules, the adult child must break away to save the marriage.