Lying, and going behind one's back

rivkadrSeptember 6, 2009

I just discovered something very upsetting -- a handgun in the drawer of my husband's desk. I'm upset because he and I discussed the possibility of getting one a few months ago (our neighborhood could be described as "transitional", and there's been a spate of crimes lately). At the time, we talked it over, and I expressed my strong feelings against getting one, for a few reasons:

- I'm a proponent of gun control, and do not personally feel comfortable having a gun in the house

- statistically, they say that the likelihood of someone following through on a suicide is much higher in a house with guns. My husband is bipolar, and has been suicidal in the past.

- the likelihood of getting to the gun, and of it being of any use during an actual home robbery seems unlikely.

What upsets me is that we discussed it, agreed not to get one, and then he just went right ahead and got one anyway. I feel like I can't trust him right now, like he has completely disregarded my feelings on this, simply pretended to agree with me to shut me up, and then went behind my back to get the gun.

I'm not sure what to do at this point, or how to discuss it with him. Any suggestions?

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IMHO, the bipolar and suicidal record should scotch the whole thing. (Do your laws allow purchase by persons with such histories? ) Your simple disagreement should have. I assume you don't have kids.

In my experience about one in twenty handgun owners is competent in its use or even aware of its limitations personally or legally. They' know little about any particular weapon's capability, are not trained, don't practice, and, like your husband, they keep it in a drawer or closet, usually unloaded -- which makes it pretty worthless for self-defense anyway. They treat it more like a talisman than a tool. Many more are stolen in burglaries than used in self-defense. IMHO, self-defense gun ownership is serious business. Requires education, training, practice, and mind-set. In a household it requires agreement. Not that it covers the ground but is your husband at least knowledgeable and proficient?

From info in your post, I would advise doing without. From your viewpoint of considering it an issue of trust in the marriage, I would, too. Suggest sorting it out between you at once.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 5:22PM
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Hi rivkadr -

I believe that I would feel exactly as you do - betrayed and invalidated. Do you think that the gun is new (in the time after you and he discussed buying one) or do you think he may have already had it and was hoping that you'd agreed to one? I, too, suggest that you speak with him asap about it, calmly but firmly, not accusingly. I would be very concerned about his previous suicidal tendencies. And yes, the trust thing is big, too. Perhaps he feels desperate and the action wasn't simply to disregard you. Are there things going on in his/your life that are troubling him (more so than normal life stuff) and particularly worry you about his reasons for the gun?

Is he seeing someone (a therapist) and/or on medication? My thoughts are with you; this is a very tough situation; the betrayal is complicated by his bipolar issue. I'm very sorry that you are going through this. It may require some outside help.

(BTW, I remember you from another forum and hope you don't mind me personalizing this a bit; my boy's arthritis is much, much better thanks to your generosity).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 11:07AM
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My sis had a neighbor guy that was as nice as a person you will ever meet until he got Alzheimer's. There was no gun in the house, but he tried very hard to kill his wife before he killed himself. He said if had to die, she was going with him. When my husband was diagnosed with the same illness I remembered and hid the gun and the clip in different places. He did end up looking for it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 5:43PM
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You can donate firearms to the police. They destroy them. That is what I did when my Uncle died. He was a hunter.

Any past suicide issues would mean that a gun would be a deal breaker. I couldn't bear living with the (much too) visual image of 'what if'.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 9:51PM
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Well, we talked last night. Basically, he felt when he bought the gun that protecting me and the house trumped my feelings on the matter -- both of us have been concerned about the rise in crime and gang activity in our area (there's a "gang house" just a couple of houses down, which is really quite scary). I explained to him that if he felt that strongly about getting the gun, it was his responsibility to discuss it further with me, not just go behind my back and get it. We talked a lot about trust issues, and how this made me feel like I couldn't trust him, and that he might always be lying to me. We're going to continue to work on that part of things. I was clear with him that he's going to have to work hard to make me fully trust him again.

As far as being suicidal, etc., I don't think that plays any role in why he bought the gun. It's just always going to be a fear in the back of my mind, which I was very clear with him about. And that I'm still not fully comfortable having it in the house, in light of that fact. He is on medication and seeing a therapist, and is TONS better than he was several years ago when he was dealing with suicidal issues.

We agreed to the following:

- he'll take classes so that he can become competent with the gun

- we'll give it a 2 or 3 month trial, and see if I can learn to accept its presence in our house. If not, he's agreed to get rid of it.

At this point, I'm less concerned about the gun itself -- if he had come back to me after our first discussion, and laid out logically why he thought we should have one, then I probably would have been fine with getting one. It's the going behind my back that is the real issue here, and what we really need to work on. We've laid it out in the open now, and he's completely agreed that him getting the gun without my okay was a completely dickish thing to do. We've just got to continue to work on the trust part of it, and make sure that he doesn't pull a stunt like this again.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 1:44PM
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Congratulations - what a wonderfully mature couple you seem to be. Good for you!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 3:30PM
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Perfect. So seldom is it the content (the gun) but the process (the trust and breach of) - address the process, the content becomes manageable.

Well done, nice to hear a good "ending" once in a while.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 5:15PM
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