I have only been married for a year and a half. We have been together for 3 1/2 years and have been met with many issues throughout our relationship. My husband has threatened to leave numerous times.
However this time, he is threatening a divorce because I will not guarantee him that I will not become a cop to work towards a dream of being a homicide detective. I have been going to school and have been teetering on what I will do with my schooling. However, the justice system has always hit home.
In the beginning of the argument, he claimed that he didn’t want me doing “anything” within that system that will have me called out during the night. Then, I told him that, as much as I would like his support on my career choice, I don’t have to have it.
I told him that he is wrong to threaten me with a divorce and that I plan to stick around and openly choose what career I want and that if he choses to leave me then he may do so. At that moment, he chose to say that its over if I cannot guarantee that I wont be a cop or homicide detective.
After explaining how wrong he was, he said: “Fine, then we won’t have a child.” (I have fertility issues and we were currently trying.)
In the end, it left with him stuck on getting a divorce and saying that he will tell my stepdaughter about it this weekend. We are now going to a counselor. I would really like your opinion. Please help.
While you’re right that he can’t control what you do, there is nothing wrong with you taking his feelings about your career choice seriously, even if he does react poorly.
Find out why he has threatened to leave throughout your relationship. If this is what he does every time he disagrees with something you’re choosing, then it’s a good thing you’re meeting with a counselor to help him understand why he can’t stick around to work through conflict.
Threatening divorce often is the tactic of someone who feels frustrated and helpless to get their partner to listen or change. Basically, it’s leverage. If you can help your husband to see that he is not helpless, that there can be compromise, he may back off threatening and pursuing that severe resolution.
I’m glad you’re going to see a counselor now to help you guys sort out your conflict.
No relationship can feel secure and safe if there are constant threats of divorce or separation, especially around issues that can be resolved.
I encourage you both to slow down and drop all threats of divorce and separation around this issue of you becoming a police officer. You feel strongly about it and so does he.
All marriages experience differences that bring up strong emotions. When I use the phrase “slow down,” I’m simply stating that if both of you jump to final conclusions about how you’ll deal with this, you’ll miss an opportunity to find out why this is so strong for each of you.
Spend time talking about why you feel so strongly about law enforcement. Allow him time to talk about why he’s concerned with you being in law enforcement. The more slowly you can talk to each other about this without interrupting or shutting the other down, the more progress you’ll make toward resolving this.
There is no hurry to get this resolved immediately. His daughter doesn’t need to be pulled in for a front row seat to your marital drama. This requires both of you to make room for the other’s concerns, hopes, and fears.
Just because he’s reacting immaturely to your career aspirations doesn’t mean there aren’t some important concerns to consider. Most of the time our strong reactions are signals that something important to us is being threatened.
Divorce or moving forward without regard to his fear are both options that will keep both of you from understanding the real concerns.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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