Wha'?

This sounds like an "Anger and frustration" post, but bear with me, there is some good news in here somewhere.

A brief relevant history:  my DH (undiagnosed/untreated) and I have had exactly 3 meaningful conversations last year, all three of which were horrible. Our communication (loosely used term) is a disaster.  The reason it was no more than three on my part is because I was beat up emotionally: shell shocked, hurt, betrayed and just plain tired of fighting the good fight.  I did the emotional version of curling up in my closet like a little girl, incapable of facing my world as it was.  It was too big and too brutal.  During that time he never once tried to open the proverbial door to check on me.  He was OK with letting me work it out on my own. 

Having healed a bit from the self-encapsulation, I've since then stretched my legs, crawled out, blinking at the bright light that is the rest of my life and took up the battle again. Fast forward.  

My DH has always adamantly refused to go to marriage counseling, mentioning his disdain towards it pretty much every time he thought our "conversations" might lead to that topic.  Three weeks ago, we were casually talking about our schedules and when we would be home together for dinner.  I mentioned that I would be going to counseling instead of being home for dinner.  The short version is that I welcomed him to go with me and he actually said he would accompany me.  He clarified later that if I perceived it would help us, then he would go to humor my perception, essentially.  He didn't feel like he needed to be there for him, because there is nothing wrong with him and he didn't need it.  I was more nervous about what would happen after the appointment. Would he blow up? Would he slowly harbor resentment that he would make me pay for later emotionally?  So we went and made some baby steps; it actually went pretty well.  We had one productive conversation on our own as a result, the first in years without emotional fallout and blame.   That's the good news and good progress report.  The following week he made a sideways comment about how going crossed a line he promised himself he would never cross.  To be clear: he communicated his dislike for counseling less than one week ago. 

After our second appointment, which was this week, he informed me that he absolutely LOVED talking about these kinds of things with a counselor present.  He felt so good about it, that he may even want to keep the standing appointment even after we no longer need to go as a couple (for whatever reason that may be..."cured" or otherwise).  Now he wants to talk about all of our difficulties with our counselor while we're at his office.  As a matter of fact, my DH is the one that's been wanting to do this all along and I'VE been the one holding up communication progress.  All I could do was stare at him silently with my jaw slack.  Wha'?  Who ARE you? What do you REALLY think anyway? 

I am completely reeling and off balance with this announcement.  I read stories in this forum that are similar in the way of the wild shifts in behavior and thinking, and so what I want to know is how in the world do you keep your equilibrium?  How do you sort out what is truth and what is impulsive jibber-jabber that he's feeling just in the moment?  My DH always talks about not "living in the past" (like last month when he was an angry guy; this month he's no longer that guy), and moving forward with today's decisions.  I can say confidently that this is a result of untreated ADHD symptoms, but how do you all roll with this?  Do you hold him/her to their latest statement?  Do you hold your breath to see if it's for real?  Is it accurate to translate it as "Honey, I've reconsidered my thoughts about counseling; I see how it is helping now. I am willing to continue our standing appointment."  I feel like I should be celebrating something here, but I'm still shaking my head and saying "wha'?"

sullygrl's picture

celebrate! Definitely celebrate!

Something obviously happened in your husband's head somewhere that made him think "this counseling thing is not so bad, there's an impartial third party to navigate this stuff and I get to talk too. Even if there isn't anything wrong with me it makes my wife happy if I go. And it feels good to talk about stuff" Whatever is going on in his mind doesn't matter as much as the fact that he has made a step, a huge step, to go to counseling. Sometimes there is a catalyst, a shift in thinking, subtle or not, that changes someone's thoughts and perspectives enough to give them that little push. The ability to take a step in a direction they weren't intending on going. So just enjoy the fact that he is there and make sure you schedule your own personal sessions if you still need them. Good luck!