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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I’m struggling to stay in my marriage and thought a support group might be of help. I think if it weren’t for my son, it would be a much easier decision, however, that’s not the case. My husband (son’s bonus dad) likes to use the “I’m done” line often and each time we have a minor disagreement. This last time, it hit me differently. Was I sad? Of course, but I had the thought of well maybe you are right. He’s out of state on a business trip right now so him and I will “try” to discuss later. Any tips on how to approach individuals who use the “I’m done” line often?
 

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Does he mean that he's done arguing right now? Does he mean that he isn't ever going to discuss the issue?

It is a perfectly reasonable thing to say that you're too emotionally worked up to deal with a particular issue at the moment in a reasonable way. It is a lot less reasonable to mean that you're never going to revisit the topic. It could also mean that the "minor issue" isn't important enough to him to fight about. "You win, can we please move on now?" in other words

Of course, not every issue needs to be resolved every time. You can have a perfectly healthy relationship and not agree on everything.

As for approaching him, you might try to get at what he means by "I'm done." For best results you should try to ask in a way that isn't confrontational or he'll shortly be done with the follow on discussion of what that means. If he's stonewalling then you're seeing one of the horsemen of the relationship apocalypse.
 

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Tell me what would life look like if you both divorce? how would you support yourself ? When you say bonus dad is he his step father? how long have you been married? Sometimes if you realistically look at worse case scenarios it will better help you focus on the problem. I am not suggesting you will both take this path, but you need to look what that path will look like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes he means it like he’s done with the marriage and will start discussing him moving out or my son and I moving out. We bought the house together a few years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tell me what would life look like if you both divorce? how would you support yourself ? When you say bonus dad is he his step father? how long have you been married? Sometimes if you realistically look at worse case scenarios it will better help you focus on the problem. I am not suggesting you will both take this path, but you need to look what that path will look like.
Reply: I make more than enough to support my son and I and am the so called “bread winner”. He does have a good job as well. We’ve both been married once before and he is my son’s step dad. In my mind, he says this because he’s afraid of not being the one who chooses to leave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Does he mean that he's done arguing right now? Does he mean that he isn't ever going to discuss the issue?

It is a perfectly reasonable thing to say that you're too emotionally worked up to deal with a particular issue at the moment in a reasonable way. It is a lot less reasonable to mean that you're never going to revisit the topic. It could also mean that the "minor issue" isn't important enough to him to fight about. "You win, can we please move on now?" in other words

Of course, not every issue needs to be resolved every time. You can have a perfectly healthy relationship and not agree on everything.

As for approaching him, you might try to get at what he means by "I'm done." For best results you should try to ask in a way that isn't confrontational or he'll shortly be done with the follow on discussion of what that means. If he's stonewalling then you're seeing one of the horsemen of the relationship apocalypse.



Yes he means it like he’s done with the marriage and will start discussing him moving out or my son and I moving out. We bought the house together a few years ago.
 

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You have the financial resources to leave. Take him up on his offer the next time he suggests it. My guess is he'll fold like a house of cards.

What he's doing is a manipulative/control technique to get you to stop discussing/arguing about whatever.

Oh, and if he doesn't fold and stands firm in pulling the plug on the marriage, I'd say you haven't lost much after all.
 
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He's done it so many times it seems a bit like an empty threat and you might try calling his bluff. The risk is he really may follow through.

Throwing around divorce in an argument, repeatedly, obviously means there are significant marital issues. Maybe he doesn't know how to effectively communicate what his thoughts are during an argument and just throws that out there. Not making excuses, it is a very bad thing to do.

Have you tried talking to him about how it makes you feel to be constantly under that threat? What he is saying, repeatedly, is that he doesn't want to be married to you. I don't know how often that actually happens to you, but every time has to be painful. Its right up there with I don't love you anymore. I know you want to stay together for the sake of your child, but do you really want him exposed to an unhappy marriage that has the constant threat of divorce hanging over it? . Should a kid grow up in that environment? Have you tried or discuss marriage counseling?

You may also want to talk to a divorce attorney just to be prepared.
 

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I realize my response to you wasn't particularly constructive. I apologize. I can certainly understand that you want your son to have a stable environment. The thing is, kids are very perceptive and can pick up on vibes between parents. From the sound of it, your husband starts threatening dissolution of the marriage even if your arguments are relatively minor. That's concerning, because it sounds like he's not particularly reasonable in working through differences between the two of you.

You claim your husband uses the "I'm done" statement frequently. Not good. Not good at all. By saying that, he's fighting dirty, disrespecting you, and manipulating.

If you plan to have "the talk" with him, I'd suggest you have firm boundaries in place as to what you will and will not accept. JMO, but I think you have to be willing to walk away from this relationship if there's any chance of saving it. Your husband needs to know you've had enough of his nonsense. If he decides to continue on this path, you'll have to tell him YOU are done.
 

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My feeble offering is as follows... and I'm curious... how have you responded when he does this?

I wonder if you could let him know that you feel sadness with him saying this, and that it's not the first time that he has and it pushes you away; and that if he means it, then okay, where to from here; and if he doesn't mean it, then he needs to cut it out. In other words, 'If you keep saying this to me, I'm going to take you on your word and act accordingly. If it's some kind of defensive mechanism, that's not helpful to us and I won't put up with it any more.'

Like I said, rookie advice yet there ya have it. Welcome to TAM!
 

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I wonder if there's more to it. If possible try to take a peak at his phone and email. If he's frequently out of the state on business trips he's at high risk of infidelity. He may have a plan B and is kind of toying with the idea of doing something.

Ultimatums aren't acceptable in a negotiation. I'd recommend counselling and get him to talk openly. Perhaps he feels he isn't getting enough support or that you aren't really listening when he tries to communicate. We all have an agenda.

However there's also a kind of passive aggression I know some people learn to use. An old friend of mine would just not say anything to his partner for long periods of time. Effectively ghosting her in the relationship. By the time she came chasing him he felt he had gained the dominant hand. He has a highly strategic, Asbergeresque, Machiavellian kind of mind. It's the "treat 'em mean keep 'em keen" approach to taming one's partner.

It's not fair treatment in a relationship I reckon. It would probably take a counsellor, or gentle third party, to call it out without making him get defensive. It's a defense mechanism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
He's done it so many times it seems a bit like an empty threat and you might try calling his bluff. The risk is he really may follow through.

Throwing around divorce in an argument, repeatedly, obviously means there are significant marital issues. Maybe he doesn't know how to effectively communicate what his thoughts are during an argument and just throws that out there. Not making excuses, it is a very bad thing to do.

Have you tried talking to him about how it makes you feel to be constantly under that threat? What he is saying, repeatedly, is that he doesn't want to be married to you. I don't know how often that actually happens to you, but every time has to be painful. Its right up there with I don't love you anymore. I know you want to stay together for the sake of your child, but do you really want him exposed to an unhappy marriage that has the constant threat of divorce hanging over it? . Should a kid grow up in that environment? Have you tried or discuss marriage counseling?

You may also want to talk to a divorce attorney just to be prepared.
We’ve both been married previously and I think that has some play into this. I personally believe he says it because he doesn’t want to be the one “surprised” if I ever choose to leave, as his x wife did. He says I treat him like a child. At this point and the messes he makes, I truly might but it’s not intentional. He can’t walk 3 feet to the trash can, puts dishes in the sink with food on them, drops his clothes wherever his heart desires, and is constantly leaving things in the backyard that results in the dogs destroying it, which means he is going to go out and replace the item. Avoidable in my opinion. It’s all the little things that add up to become a HUGE issue. When trying to discuss with him, he deflects and it always becomes my fault and it’s because I do x, y, z. I’m just at a loss at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wonder if there's more to it. If possible try to take a peak at his phone and email. If he's frequently out of the state on business trips he's at high risk of infidelity. He may have a plan B and is kind of toying with the idea of doing something.

Ultimatums aren't acceptable in a negotiation. I'd recommend counselling and get him to talk openly. Perhaps he feels he isn't getting enough support or that you aren't really listening when he tries to communicate. We all have an agenda.

However there's also a kind of passive aggression I know some people learn to use. An old friend of mine would just not say anything to his partner for long periods of time. Effectively ghosting her in the relationship. By the time she came chasing him he felt he had gained the dominant hand. He has a highly strategic, Asbergeresque, Machiavellian kind of mind. It's the "treat 'em mean keep 'em keen" approach to taming one's partner.

It's not fair treatment in a relationship I reckon. It would probably take a counsellor, or gentle third party, to call it out without making him get defensive. It's a defense mechanism.
I have looked occasionally through his phone, emails, etc and found nothing. His x wife had an affair so I truly don’t think he would put someone through that. The thought has crossed my mind though to be honest about him but no evidence to support the thought.
He may do it for the “control”. We both have dominate personalities, both have successful careers where we manage others, and anytime I try to talk to him his response at times is “don’t treat me like one of your employees”. Im literally not raising my voice, saying anything mean, just trying to talk about the situation at hand. At that point it gets dropped and not discussed.
 
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