The Ultimatum

NOTE: My posts may be out of chronological order as I’m writing whatever spills out, when it spills out.

Ultimatum: a final proposition, condition, or demand; especially :  one whose rejection will end negotiations and cause a resort to force or other direct action (Merriam-Webster.com).

Sunday night H said he wanted to talk. He was pretty dozey due to pain meds but he really wanted to talk. I told him I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea given his condition and asked him to think about it. He still wanted to talk.

He started to flood me with all of the things “we” should/need to do and the things “we” said we were going to do during this separation. I listened and listened and listened. I listened carefully, controlling my reactions and resisting the urge to respond/defend. When he started to double back and rehash the 3rd time, I refocused the conversation.

I told him nothing of what he had just told me indicated anything about him or what he planned to do about his individual issues. I told him, once again, that each of our respective portions of the relationship equation was wholly dependent upon us getting individual help and working on those frameworks before we could approach marriage counseling. He vigorously disagreed but framed it in terms of what the family needs. I told him that if I am a better Me then I can be a better Mom and relationship partner – and asked if that didn’t stand to reason. He agreed that it did and tried to double back to the whole flood thing again. I redirected.

I gave him an ultimatum:

“If you don’t get the help you need for your issues we are done. Don’t tell me that we should work this stuff out in marriage counseling because I have found zero evidence to support that. I will not go into marriage counseling until I have addressed my issues. There is NO therapist out there who would controvert that. I am taking responsibility for my ‘stuff’ and for this to work you need to do the same. I heard nothing about you owning your behaviors and reactions in all of the things you told me. This is our biggest obstacle to progress in our marriage and it can be removed, but not without a lot of work. I’m doing the work. You need to do your own work.”

He looked at me, pushed back an urge to snap, and said “OK. I’ll call [the counseling place where I go] and find my own therapist. I need to get back on my feet but I should be coherent enough to call tomorrow [Monday].”

I said ok and thanked him for telling me what was on his mind and the evening proceeded.

Today is Friday. He went back to work yesterday. I have to decide how I’m going to handle this from here.

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