Relationship Connection: My husband threatens divorce because I want to be a cop

Question

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.

Answer

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.

Stay connected!

 

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.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

relationship-connection

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

17 Comments

  • Dishes December 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

    There’s a joke in St George of what does the guy do when the dishwasher stops working? He spanks her hard and tells her to get back to work in the kitchen. With that said, men in this town must feel extremely threatened when women want to work outside the house, let alone take on a job of authority. One can only wonder why these women want to be married to control freaks.

    • Porn? December 11, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Aside from control freak behavior, is he also a porn addict? Men exhibiting one of these behaviors often have the other.

  • Erin December 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

    You left out the part where it’s a control tactic, as well. With this man threatening to leave constantly, he’s using their marriage as a weapon. While it may be true that some people threaten to leave when they feel frustrated or helpless, it is also true that some people threaten to leave as a way to hurt and control their spouse. I’m sure he didn’t go into this marriage being blind to her desire to be in the law enforcement field. If that’s what she’s going to school for, it’s ridiculous of him to assume she would not want to get a job in that field. Otherwise, she’s just wasting her time.

    I, too, find it frustrating that most men in St. George want a woman who is subservient or has a menial job. Women are equal partners and have every right to pursue their dreams. My feeling is this man feels threatened by her desire to have a career of her own. He doesn’t want her to have a career that takes her out of the home at night? My guess is that he doesn’t want to cook dinner or take care of the kids by himself.

    • debbie December 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

      U go girl!

    • Control December 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Help the loser pack his stuff. If his threats of divorce don’t work to control you, he’ll probably next threaten suicide. If he can’t control you with that, he might get violent. I suspect St George has a high instance of violence against women who don’t obey their men.

  • debbie December 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

    this is big control. where we must 8 hours a day for the rest of our lives will always ultimately be OUR decision.. she is property to him, that he can boss around. this is a sign of domestic violence.. i couldn’t ever tell someone what job they have to do.. that is so wrong. 8 hours a day is a long time and it had better be something you like doing. when they getting into using “tactics” to get what they want.. you can bet they are displaying many other signs of domestic violence already that the wife is NOT aware of. JUST FYI a study was done, thousands of abusers were given tons of different therapies.. after 20 years.. do you know how many were healed of their abusive behavior.. “ZERO-NADA-ZILCH-0”.. Divorce isn’t so bad. 🙂 the Lord doesn’t want us to chained to addiction.. the bible say’s so.. an abusive mate, becomes our addiction b/c we are so afraid of ticking them off.. we also end up making them our GOD and that will hinder us from serving our heavenly Father.. (if religion is an issue here too) and plz lady DONT have children yet.. not with him anyways.. he will dangle that child over your head forever, threaten to leave you and take your child.. he will say your job is too dangerous.. he is not a safe husband.. go get another. 🙂 SIGNS of an ABUSE relationship (and you’ll be surprised whats on there) plz read.
    http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

    • Control December 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Throw out his stuff. Change the locks on the house. Get a restraining order because of his threats. Get small weapons training and keep your gun close by. Protect yourself. Guys in St George can get really violent with their women (aka: property)

  • Maudie December 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    GO FOR IT, SISTER!!! leave his whiney butt behind and move on w/your life. Anyone who would keep threatening to LEAVE YOU has just given you a HUGE window of opportunity: YOU LEAVE FIRST! Go live your dream and leave that slack piece of crap BEHIND! You sure don’t want your kids to be influenced by that kind of behavior…don’t wait too long or you’ll be saying ‘coulda shoulda woulda’.
    He’s not a man. He’s a JERK!

  • Craig December 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    First of all, why are you writing to this “therapist?”
    This fool wants you to work on this so called marriage. STOP! This is not an equal partnership you have.
    If your jerk husband has his way with YOUR career choice, he will insist on having his way every time there is a disagreement.
    He is immature and a control freak. Kick him to the curb and get on with your life.
    You can do much better.

  • Teiraa December 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    “threatened to leave numerous times” should have been the first obvious clue that he doesnt really love you.

  • S Steed December 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    It sounds like you might need to take some responicibility for your part in this; the story seems very one sided. It could be he is trying to protect you from a dangerous job and the corruption and office politics in the police force. You sell it like he is the a-hole but what is his side of the story?

    • No Kidding December 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Spoken like a true Plig. Go back to Colorado City and service your own many wives.

      • S Steed December 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        What do you know about pligs, what about what I’ve said has any relevance to that, and what does your ad hominem attack say about you?

        • No Kidding December 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm

          I know way too much, unfortunately. And your posts speak for themselves.

  • Hatalli December 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    You truly need to get out of this marriage and away from this man! You do Not need marriage counseling, you need him out of your life! I don’t know how much luck you are going to have here in Dixie as far as a law enforcement career. There are a few females officers, but very few.
    That is really not the point though. The point, as has been mentioned several times already, is that you are in an abusive relationship, and need to terminate it right now. Do not have a child with this guy. Do not let anything he says or does from here on out, influence your decision to split. Do not let property or other concerns stop you. This needs to end, and it needs to end now.

  • DoubleTap December 12, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Being a good police officer requires good decision making skills and you have an opportunity to demonstrate those skills by dumping this control freak ASAP! He cares not at all about you and only cares about himself. If you have the right mind-set to achieve your goal and become a law enforcement officer, you will have shown that you can achieve anything you want in life….but first, dump this chump NOW! DO IT NOW! DO NOT RESIST!

  • JL December 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Leave him now, it’ll be a lot less painful than if you wait until you either 1) get pressured out of your dream job or 2) have a child or 3) his anger issues escalate or 4) you just get tired of his drama.
    Don’t let him convince you to be/act weak. If you really want to be in law enforcement, it’s a tough job especially for a woman BUT you will love going to work every day. Go for it, woman!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.