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Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Posted by catlettuce (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 9, 10 at 16:04

And does anyone here have any positive outcomes from their experiences with it? DH finally (albeit reluctantly) agrees to go after a arguement earlier this week. It at was my request, not his.

He told me that he couldn't make me happy and if I wnated it to go find it, and that nothing would ever change. The more I think about it the more I think he is correct. Though I certainly don't expect him to make me happy I think you make your own happiness.

Now I find I'm really uncomfortable with it? I'm afraid to be completely honest as I think it will just make DH upset if he is forced to confront & talk about issues he doesn't want to deal with. In other words now I am afraid it's going to big a big hairy ugly episode.

Does it ever really work/help? I'm afraid he'll be cool at the counsleor but then give me the slient treatment & withdraw afterwards or worse become even more angry. We are leaving on Vacation in a little over a week and I'm scared to even "go there" (hot button issues)anymore. Is it even worth it?

Going to our first appt tonight alone because I just became too stressed out over the whole thing. I told DH last night I wanted to wait til we got back (he asked why)and go early next month. I told him the truth, he didn't seem affected on way or another, perhaps relieved? Do spouses often become more angry after counseling, meaning does it typically get before it gets better?

My big fear is he is not going out of wanting to make things better but rather a place of "I'll show you I'm right & your wrong." I'm not sure I want to do marriage counseling anymore -after my being the one to bring it up-Ugh!

~Cat


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

IMHO counseling can, indeed, be very helpful.......if and only if BOTH parties ACTUALLY/TRULY want to work on the marriage. If either party goes in hard-headed and/or with their personal decision already made, it's quite useless. If one or both already actually wants out, it's little more than gathering new ammunition. Be honest with yourself about your intentions before spending the time and money. A competent counselor will find out where your at very quickly in any event. What is it, after all, that you don't already know about yourselves?


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Thanks Asolo.

well, I am so glad I went and by myself for the first session. I think I know myself and what I want pretty well, not so much what DH wants as far as a marriage.

The counselor summed it up pretty well at the end of the visit. I have had some major life events as has DH & I want to re-negotiate the terms of the marriage. Whether or not DH is willing to do that we won't know until he goes. Counselor recommended I leave it up to DH on whether he goes alone his first visit or we go together. And then let him know and schedule.

We touched on a lot but the biggies were for me communication/omission, making plans for our future financially and just things we want to do setting goals etc, and being able to discuss difficult issues without a blow up or walking away..

I feel more hopeful but am reserving too much hope until DH goes and gauging his response. I do think it will be easier for him to relate to a male counselor, so I think it was a good pick.

Here's hoping..
~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Marriage counseling can really help -- But for it to help, I think you have to be honest. Diplomatic, and careful with your words -- but also honest. If you're not -- If you skirt around the big issues, then the big issues don't ever get resolved.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

If your car developed transmission problems, would you take it to a mechanic, try to keep driving it anyway or just leave it by the side of the road?

I think counseling can be a good tool, if you get a good counselor. Even if your spouse doesn't buy into it, you can sort out your feelings and improve your communication skills. If the worst comes to worst, you have the comfort of knowing that you gave it your best effort. My previous marriage ended in (amicable) divorce after three years of counseling, but I think I am a better person for putting in the work. It has helped me make my present marriage more successful. Also, I don't think we do always know ourselves nearly as much as we think we do.

I applaud you for trying.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

I don't remember the title but i just watched this movie, couple goes to marriage therapist, and they are very skeptical. Therapist tells them that couples come to him for 2 reasons: either to confirm deep problems and end the relationship or to help fix a relationship. in both cases it is a positive outcome: if a couple ends up broken, it is a positive outcome too, moving on...

if truth would come out and it gets ugly, think of it as a positive outcome. Wouldn't you rather find out now if it could be saved, rather than 10 years form now.

maybe you both have to be truthful and get angry and ugly and get it over with, or maybe take it to the next level.

whatever it is, it is better than what you have now...

good luck! be brave and be honest. hugs


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Cat, I think it's great that you went on alone to the counseling session. If I were you, I might continue doing that for a while. It may help you to sort out everything in your own mind, to see more clearly the whole picture and your own situation.

My younger sister was just talking about this very issue to me this past weekend. She said she really, really wishes she had gone for marriage counseling for a while before ever asking her (passive-aggressive) ex to go along.

When he went with her, he just stonewalled while pretending (by lying) to the counselor that he 'just couldn't understand why she had a problem'. Unfortunately, he was so convincing, he even convinced the counselor! It turned out to be a total waste of time.

I'm not suggesting that your DH going would necessarily be a waste of time. I just think it may help you to go alone for a while first and get everything all settled in your own mind. I think that may help you decide where you want to go from here. I hope this helps. If it doesn't, feel free to ignore it. :-)


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Does it work?? Yes and no! My first marriage ended in divorce, we departed on ok terms, but we did goto marriage counselling. She found the counselor and she went by herself for the first while, then I came with her! WOW, I got beat up by the both of them! No fun at all! But I did take some positive stuff away from the sessions. Didn't really help me then, but it did help me with my current marriage. I think it is key to find a counselor that remains neutral and that 1 can both communicate well with. If one doesn't work, try another. In my case we just married at a young age and as we got older we changed, life happens.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Cat,

I went back and read another post of yours and got more insight into your marriage.
In answer to your question, I doubt the marriage counseling will work. What might work better is counseling for you. Your husband sounds emotionally abusive. Is that possible? My favorite book on this topic is Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry controlling me. The author's last name is Lundy.

In my opinion, you should make sure your counsellor is trained in emotionally abusive relationships. If your counsellor is not aware, he can actually make things worse.

Good luck to you. I know how painful it is...


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

DawnP,
Yes. He is emotionally abusive. I appreciate the book reference and will look for it on amazon this week. Yes,
painful and draining is about right.

Thank you,
~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Well, we went on our planned vacation, and it was fun.
There were a few tense moments at the dinner table one night that borderline snide remarks were made to me in front of family & it was just about to escalate but I just stopped, looked at Dh & said that's it, I'm not doing this. And that was the end of it.

Then another time where DH jokingly said I could be a b***h sometimes to my Aunt when she was asking me for help getting a piece of medical equipment delivered (a customer service issue) She just kind of looked at him, & he said "No, I mean REALLY, she can be a B." twice, Sigh. It was joking but really it was not (passive/agressive). My Aunt totally caught it, was not amused & mentioned it to me later. Embarrassing.

Little things like this sure add up after awhile. Things just feel tense and negative and I am just left wondering what it is I'm fighting for? He tells me I will never find anyone as understanding & caring as he is, and I think -ok, well so be it.

Otherwise the trip was very nice, we had some very nice moments and went to places that had some meaning to us in our life together. we are now home & back to reality.

And while I'm sure I want to continue counseling for me, I'm not at all sure I want to continue/start it for us, would probably feel better about it if he wasn't so negative about it. He hasn't mentioned it again to me & I doubt he will.

It is great to get the mens comments on this too-I appreciate the input and everyone elses too.

Mara, your sisters situation is what I fear will happen with us. My DH can charm anyone, I think most people he associates with would be completely surprised at how different & negative he is at home. Gee maybe it really is all me? He seems to be happy in other aspects of his life?
Hmm.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Catlettuce - Have you read the posts discussing NPD? (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) Might be worth your while...


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever eally work?

I haven't but I'll search it & read a few..
What's striking me strange is I have a nagging feeling that somethings going on I don't know about? I hate that feeling!

OK, going to read what you've suggested, you haven't steered me wrong yet.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Just a thought.....

It appears to me you're on the verge of thinking you may be able to micro-manage this thing into something satisfactory. Yet everything you've written so far indicates your DH really doesn't know what you're talking about and such as he does say he understands he doesn't much care about.

Your analysis and/or understanding isn't going to solve this. I think you have a decision to make. I don't know why you're hanging in. Actually, given your DH's attitude as you've described it, I don't know why he doesn't pull the plug and save you the trouble.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

saying to your family members that you could be a b... should be enough for a deal breaker. Strange he says he is carrying and understanding, it sure doesn't sound that. Your nagging feeling is your realization that this marriage is doomed yet you are staying, your body knows you are not making a good choice here. But i understand, it is hard, it is just getting harder longer you are staying.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Asolo- Wow, hit the nail on the head once again! I'm a very detail oriented-micro managing type of person. I wasn't even looking at it that way.

I do realize, honestly I can only manage myself, I sometimes wonder why DH doesn't pull the plug. I don't necessarliy think he is unhappy in the marriage, he seems to like having someone there keeping the homefires burning. I think he is an unhappy person-period. He is a workaholic yet wouldn't have too work so much or so hard if he stopped fully funding his adult sons household. This is his choice though. He can't seem to enjoy the moments, or the small victory's in life.

Anyway, Fine, yes in my heart I don't think the realtionship is good for me any longer. While I love him, I don't want it to be like this the 2nd half of my life.

And those moments like what happened on vacation overshadow the good ones and result in me feel very demeaned as a woman & a wife and make me want to pull away. DH sense that at times. and I'm honest with him when something is bothering me, but he just doesn't want to hear it. It's really a viscious circle.

He doesn't want to be questioned on anything and I want someone that is more of a partner not a dictator on how & where I'm going to live my life. Because I do not make or contribute as much financially to the household He makes all the decisions and I get no say. I think no matter who makes what spouses should be equal partners in the marriage for common goals & enjoyment. I may not bring home as much cash but I make sure we have health, dental & life insurance-which isn't cheap, buy all the groceries, along with other household expenses. I guess I could help pay for part of our rent if I knew what it was but I've heard different amounts to he is doing some work for the owner?

That's just not my idea of a marriage and he does not want to change this secrecy and treat me as an equal. We get along great when I do not question him about anything relating to the house we bought last yr, our money situation or future plans. No, I'm not after his money, I can support myself comfortably on my salary. As far as I know he doesn't have any assets. He might, I just don't know about it if he does. How do you plan a future with someone who won't keep you in the know or discuss major decisions.

It is hard to walk when you still have such strong feelings for someone. I just don't know what else I can do to make it work for me that wouldn't necessitate some change from DH. I am out of ideas and tired. I don't think it is a healthy normal marriage-or is this what marriage is? It certainly isn't the way my parents marriage operates, nor friends or acquaintences with long term marriages. So I don't have anything to compare it too.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Being married for 40 years this month I am uncomfortable when you relate how he treats you. DH and I get angry with each other, we "vent", sometimes yell, nothing physical though, but it gets out of our systems, we are 2 different people and can't agree all the time, but I don't get from your posts that underneath you two are on the same page. It's like you are walking on eggshells, he doesn't want to discuss things, he must know you are not happy with the situation, and apparently that's okay with him.
My DH and I want each other to feel comfortable. I don't know if that will happen for you even if he went to any counseling. I hate to say flat out that it's over but unless something changes drastically I think it is. Being upset in your realtionship is no way to live your life.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Catlettuce -

Here's a link to the various postings on these forums having to do with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Even if you decide they don't quite fit, there's some worthwhile reading and good advice in there that may help.

Again, I don't know if that's what's going on, or if your husband is just behaving like a selfish jerk. But from your descriprtions, it doesn't sound like you are happy, and it doesn't sound like he is willing or able to change in a meaningful way to enable you to be happy in the future.

SO - if you're not happy now, and it isn't going to change...

Here is a link that might be useful: NPD on GWeb


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

"He tells me I will never find anyone as understanding & caring as he is"

He's right. You will never again find someone with his level of caring and understanding. Amen. Pass me someone better, or I'll go without, thank you very much. It reminds me of Shel Silverstein:

ARTIST: Shel Silverstein
TITLE: Helping

Agatha Fry, she made a pie
And Christopher John helped bake it
Christopher John, he mowed the lawn
And Agatha Fry helped rake it

Now, Zachary Zugg took out the rug
And Jennifer Joy helped shake it
Then Jennifer Joy, she made a toy
And Zachary Zugg helped break it

And some kind of help is the kind of help
That helping's all about
And some kind of help is the kind of help
We all can do without


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Cat, I can tell you that my sister was not the problem in her marriage. Granted, she is not perfect -- she and I have had our tiffs since childhood -- but she worked very hard at that marriage because she dearly loved her DH. The B---- incident you mentioned reminds me of a number of things her DH did at our family gatherings.

I don't know if your DH does this or not, but her DH had the very bad habit of waiting to mention their personal problems in public, which was often very humiliating to her, of course. She would try to discuss issues with him alone, at home, but he would clam up and claim he 'had no problems -- what's your problem???" Then, later, he would pull the public ugliness.

After she had gone through all that for years, she began attending a support group for wives of p/a guys -- she met the co-leader at her work. There, she got a list of books to read. I posted several of those titles here not long ago, after calling her for the list.

A pp above referenced 'Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry controlling me. The author's last name is Lundy'. I saw that title last week and just had the opportunity to ask my sister about it this weekend when she was visiting us. She said, yes, she had read it -- after her and her DH's 'together' counseling flopped. She said reading it first could have saved her a ton of pain and frustration.

BTW -- the last word in that title is 'men', and the author's first name is Lundy. She told me the last name but I can't remember it now. She also told me she borrowed it from her library, didn't need to buy it.

I don't want to paint a needlessly dreary picture here. There were women in her support group who ended up getting real, effective help for themselves and whose marriages did improve. A number of them are still married today because of that.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Thanks Mara,

The author is Lundy Bancroft.

I could just remember the Lundy part.


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RE: Does marriage counselig ever really work?

I have to write what just happened as I'm wondering if I'm losing it or being to picky etc.

DH & I were watching dancing with the stars and one of the dancers said of her partner who was very nervous that she invited his wife & baby for a lunch for his birthday-that she wanted to give him something to ease his nervousness. Dh said sarcastically "Yea, a blowjob."

Come on, seriously? I immediately said "Why do you do that? Why do you have to always say something about women? He said "I don't! Your just making a big deal out of it. I said you call women b****es all the time (he does!) and I happen to be a women, it offends me. He said "Whatever you're just trying to make some kind of point & I don't know what it is!" I said "It hurts me when you do that." He says "Well, I'm sorry, and stalks off." Oh boy, now I'll get the silent treatment I'm sure. Guess I should have kept my mouth shut-but jeez he is so negative about women lately always making little remarks, it gets old.

I feel bad as today he made a special trip home in the middle of the day to potty the dogs for me so I could go straight to the Dr.s.

Those remarks do offend me though. Should I just not say anything and ignore it?

How would he feel if I made nasty comments about men, male drivers etc? Ugh! So much for a nice quiet evening.
Why am I always the baddie just becuase I speak my mind? I love him but wish he would stop that. He doesn't like it when I'm playful/goofing off or pinch his bum so I don't act goofy or playful with him anymore, I try to only touch him and kiss him certain ways, not tickle him and things like that. Granted I'm a more silly type of person & he is not. I'm not perfect but I should still be able to verbalize when something bothers me,shouldn't I? I love him, but how can we get past this if I'm never to say what bothers me? He feels picked on & I'm just kind of lost. He does really nice things for me often but these comments just set my teeth on edge.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Just my personal little take....before I bow out of this thread...which obviously is never going to end. I'm starting to gain sympathy for your husband. Even at cyber-distance I'm feeling diddled to death.

DH does, indeed, sound like an A-1 jerkwad as you've described him. I think you can depart guilt free. Frankly, I wish you would....and be done with it....and be done with reporting every little new thing that happens and isn't the way it should be, and what should I do, and ad nauseum.

Think; decide; act.

Over and out.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Oh, I know. I'm sorry. I guess I needed to vent.
It wasn't too bad, he came back after an hour and everything was fine.

He really is not a jerk and has a lot of very good qualities, I jut a partnership not a dictator. And he doesn't/ I'm sure I give a skewed view of things & am usually pixxed about something when I post.

I just think we are completely different and have really got to make a decision. I'm sorry for over posting every little thing. It wouldn't be so hard if I didn't love him & was comletely over it.

That is probably unrealistic to hope for right now.

Sweeby thanks for the links, they are really eye opening and I'm still reading further. I can see quite a few similarities. Thanks for posting them.

Sorry for the TMI..bad night. I'll try not to report until I've made a significant change. Nothing more to say on it anyhow, SSDD. I apologize.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

some men are crude, no class. It does not matter though if he is a jerk or a classy gentleman. you are not happy, that what matters. he is not going to change and nothing is going to be different. either accept or move on.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

I told DH I am not moving back to the old house when SS moves out. I got pre-approval for a mortgage all by myself and the loan officer pulled all my credit reports, and said I'd have no problem getting the loan underwritten at all-Yea!

I cannot even tell you all what a relief this is to me, just to do all that paperwork myself, with no help and know I CAN do it. I am going to look at 2 houses tomorrow. DH asked why & I told him I want to live in MY home, mine.
He is welcome to come with me, but I'm doing it by myself, with my money so I won't have to ever live by someone elses rules again, ever. I don't know what he will do with the other house & I don't care-I'm so excited!

I have not felt this in control & optomistic about my life in I don't even know how many years. It's a baby step, but I feel really good about it.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Good on ya. Carry on!


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

good for you, hope it works out! big step to independence.


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

YAY CAT!!!!!

If you were closer I'd bring over balloons and cake.


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I am excited for you too, to have that confidence in your own skills is priceless ! Good for you and hope you find a lovely home.

xx


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Good for you Cat!
Please keep it up --


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Another high five! But...please consult with an attorney or the Real Estate/Buying a home forum here. In some states, even if you buy the home in your name, because you are married the property might be considered joint.


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I thought the same thing like jessyf said, he might claim half of it,

frankly I would divorce him and buy a house by myself


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Cat, that's a good point. You can have him (and should, IMO) sign a quit claim (quick claim?) on the house that basically says you own it as your own property without him. They're fairly easy to do, just sign and notarize. Good luck!!


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

hahaha, i went to marriage counceling with my x husband b 4 the divorce, it was our pastor and his wife. my husband physically and mentally abused me and frced me to live a life of seclusion from outside world, he thought i was gonna leave him so he ran me over with the truck, i was badly hurt for 6 month and even mor pt. the pastor n wife said i should forgive him and move on, but the a@#$ole left me in the street broken and bleeding as he pelt off with my children. so no i lost faith in councel. i was in fear of my life and divorced, even though i didnt have a soul to go to, no job skills, couldnt even drive cuz i never learned. alls i knew is i wanted to live. oh n he never went to jail for that, got away scott free. abmulances cops and all were there, i still get upset abt it to this day


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Francis, I'm so sorry that happened to you, it's such a awful story ;0(

Couples counseling is out for me, I frankly just don't want to anymore. I found a lovely little home, made an offer and it was accepted yesterday! DH is agreeable to the quit claim deed, or I wouldn't be doing it now.

I'm feeling better about my life because I know I'll be ok either way. DH has mentioned me divorcing him a few times (in a kind of "your gonna leave me" way) and I told him if I was planning to I surely wouldn't buy a home here. BUT I am still going south for the winter and more than likely purchasing a small cottage there also.

So, he can either deal or not, but I'm going to be happy now with or without him. Had to have a procedure today and DH came with and was very supportive, which he usually is during times like that. Now lets keep our fingers crossed that underwriting goes through without any major hitches.

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Cat, I have been following your posts for quite some time now and can't believe you have stayed around and took this emotional abuse for so long....but then some of us learn slowly (or at least that was the case for me until I got my gut full of it)....

Your last post was in May....this is August....what have you done?....I pray that you have left him and gotten on with your own life and making a much happier Cat~~


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Hi Phoggie & All,
Well no, I have not left him. But yes, I have gotten on with my life! We are living together quite peacefully as I have completely detached from the whole "stepkid/family" issue. In fact I have only seen them once in the past year at Christmas.

I'm still looking to purchase a home. My previous offer fell through a week from close. It was a short sale & quite a learning experience.

Dh seems to have come to terms that if we are to have a life together, I'm not going to be a part of his childrens lives and they are not going to be a part of mine. I know it must seem cold, but I just can't do that or go there anymore. I don't see myself ever having any type of a meaningful relationship with them in the future. I do worry this is painful for DH, but I have to protect myself & my wellbeing.

I'm still going south for the winter the end of Oct to be near my son & family, DH will come visit when he can/work allows. I'm already getting excited to go spend time with my kid & folks.

I get a little lonely at times because we both work so much and he spends a lot of time going to his house or fishing but when we are together it's peaceful, no arguing and we enjoy each others company. At times I wonder how long we can go on like this. Together, yet seperate but somehow it works. I can tell you though that DH behaves like a loving thoughtful spouse and that there isn't any major drama or issues going on between he & I in the least.
It is quiet and nice. I don't hear about too much with his kids unless he is venting to me out of sheer frustration and I just listen. And he feels better, and we move on.

He is able to just let go and enjoy being part of us because there is not the constant drama & upset driving us apart. The best way I can describe it is that I just stepped away from it all and started enjoying my life and things I like to do again. I can't even describe how much more peaceful my life is since I desengaged from the whole situation.

It's not perfection, but I am in a much happier place emotionally now. I do suspect that DH longs for family togetherness where everyone meshes into one big happy family however, thats just not realistic-for us.

That's about it for me..thank you for thinking of me. Now I need to go catch up with all of you :0)

~Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Cat~~

Another year is coming to a close. What has happened in your life since your last post. I really wish you could completely cut the strings with this guy.....been there and done that....and getting out was the BEST thing I have ever done for myself. Oh, from time to time, I remember the "good times", but it lasts only for a fleeting minute.

Thinking of you.
Phoggie


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Ditto Phoggie.

(((Cat)))


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

Dear Phoggie, Silver & Everyone,
I am Afraid I have only GOOD news to report :0)

I bought a lovely home, DH & I are happily together and I remain detached from the situation with his son and house.

I have to say I didn't think we'd get back to good but we are there. The biggest factor that I feel turned things around for us was my buying the home all on my own. He may disagree, and that's ok. I know what I'm capable of, he knows where my line in the sand is and we are back to being happy.

I am happy with my everyday life. I'm more comfortable communicating my true feelings and needs now. I'm not sure what made it click for him. I still have not set foot in the old house and have made it clear it will never happen. Don't think the relationship with his one son will ever be anything more than cordial at family / holiday events but I am good with that and DH has stopped trying to force it- thank goodness. Holidays came and went without drama.

It is good to relax, and enjoy my husband and life. I think more than anything, I have changed. We still have the occasional crabby moments but nothing like before. The man treats me golden, everyday. I seriously have no complaints.
I suspect he is relieved to be in this home, as what happened before is not ever going to be an option here, so he doesn't have to choose or be the bad guy.

Thank you for thinking of me. I'm not sure I would have made it through the most difficult time in my life without all of you here.
Xoxo
-Cat


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

What great news Cat. Thank you for updating, I've been wondering. So glad you are happy and safe and secure and doing well. It must feel so GREAT!!!!

~Silver


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RE: Does marriage counseling ever really work?

So much better. But I was to the point I was going to get better & be happy with or without him.

I'm glad it's with.

Thanks for thinking of me :0)
~Cat


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