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Question
Posted by: Lee-Anne | 2009-09-21

Won' t allow physical contact between mom and dad

My husband and I went through a very traumatic stage in our marriage in 2007, with him having an extra-marital affair, being verbally abusive to both me and our 2 children, heavy drinking and staying out late at night. We are trying our best to restore our marriage but still fight quite often. My son (10) gets very depressed and unhappy when things are going well between my husband and I and we try to show affection to one another. He cries when we sit next to each other and hold hands or get to ' kissey'  with each other. We can' t cuddle up in bed (only cuddle) when he sees us touching (e.g. leg over leg) in bed he gets very upset, but all he says is that he doesn' t like it. I have tried to explain to him that it is all part of the repair process and that before 2007, it never bothered him at all. He also refuses to allow me to wear any even semi-revealing pyjamas. I have tried talking to him and acknowledging his feelings, but to no avail. I don' t understand why this upsets him so as he is constantly asking me to keep trying to save our marriage and not divorce his father.

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Our expert says:
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Why not see a mariage counsellor, together ? And then, when you are resolving your marriage problems, work with the therapist / counsellor to involve your son, to explore why he is apparently more obviously upset by affection between you two than by the aggression he previously witnessed. ? Indeed, it is family therapy ( and FAMSA can help you find the right therapist ) more than ordinary marriage counselling, that you need.
Good comments all round, with Bob's Gf raising some especially important points.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Wise Owl | 2009-09-21

Hmmmmm. ' wont allow"  from a 10 year old. not matter how he may feel about the relationship, is simply not acceptable I am afraid. He may feel angry towards his father and as " Vk"  says, he may well feel that you are a traitor and weak when you make up towards someone who appears , in his eyes ,to be a bit of a bastard. You will have to consider this point carefully. But please, you must not permit him to adopt an adult role in your relationship, and certainly not " allowing " you to do this or that. Be careful that whenever the wheels fall off between you and your husband, not to console yourself by complaining to or looking for sympathy from your son. Leave him out of it.

Reply to Wise Owl
Posted by: nina | 2009-09-21

hi there

it' s your child way of protecting himself from getting hurt again,
all of you should get prefessional help

if your still acting the same as before your child will expect the same to happen .. all the pain and confusion

your poor child is very confused and it' s not his fault or responsibility to handle things so complicated - he is trying his very best to deal with it the only way he knows

you guys should really work with him on this and not add to his stress

nina

Reply to nina
Posted by: bob' s girlfriend | 2009-09-21

when you were going through this period was he THE MAN in the house? did you hold him, cuddle him? maybe he liked that he was the main man then in your life and now feels like he is being pushed aside?

my daughter also does not like it so we limit it to when we are alone

i also don' t see the need for wearing revealing pajama' s when you have a 10year old in the house. I think that YOU also need some boundaries. You are his mother and should dress appropriately. What you do in the privacy of your bedroom is another story but with a young lad like that you need to be careful.

Also make sure he gets the love and attention he needs and yes i think you' ll have to seek some form of therapy that he can understand and know that all is okay now.

Reply to bob&#39 s girlfriend
Posted by: vk | 2009-09-21

This story struck a nerve, I am a 25 year old female adult, and my parents put me through the traumatic stage you describe above, for my entire childhood. Now all i can do is maybe give you a glimpse of how your son MIGHT be seeing it. For as long as i recall, my parents were in discord and as far as i was concerned, they hated each other - and somehow i came to accept that - that my dad was abusive and didnt love my mum or myself - that was just the way the world worked, and on some level , i was " fine"  with it. I recall though that when they tried to fix it, my sister and myself were disgusted - our thoughts were " our father is a bloody hypocrite, how can he expect that a gift to mum or us will take away what he did to us" , when we went on holidays together and saw them hold hands while taking a walk outside, my sister and I were angry at my mother for allowing him to " act"  like he loves her at all - we were convinced that he didnt and was trying to get like " points"  or to convince us he gave a toss. We so much wanted to believe that he didnt - and we so much didnt want to rely on him and we wanted my mother to leave him -the thing was this - we were SO disappointed by him and how he treated us, that we didnt want to be set up for pain again. we didnt want my mother to be a " sell-out"  by giving in to any act of affection from him. I am now an adult and married, and i can tell you these things have not died fully. I dont know how to advise you, all i can show is how your son may be feeling.

Reply to vk
Posted by: Liza | 2009-09-21

It might be a good idea to find out why he doesn' t like it through play therapy with a good child psychologist. If you can' t afford it, contact FAMSA and they might be able to refer you to someone.

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: anon | 2009-09-21

Sounds like there is not enough boundries and that that he is playing the role of a parent. You need to make sure he knows who is the parent and who is the child. Why do you allow him to create when you are wanting to be intimate with you partner, your son should be in bed by then in anycase.

Reply to anon

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