Relationship Connection: I slapped my husband and now he’s done with the marriage

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My husband and I had a bad fight six weeks ago where I slapped him in his face and got aggressive with him, which is completely out of my character. I was so angry because afterward, he wanted to run. He said he does not want me and doesn’t trust me to be around him. I have apologized and told him I’m disappointed in myself.

At first, he just wanted me to leave him alone, then he stopped talking, and then it eventually turned into him wanting to be out of the home. Our children are confused (they weren’t home when it happened and don’t know the details). He agreed to four months of separation to see where this goes.

He has a passive attitude about it, like, “if it works, it works.” He basically told me I would need to respect his wishes if he doesn’t want to stay married. Please help.


This kind of crisis is usually the culmination of hundreds of broken interactions over years of struggle. You both snapped in your own unique ways, which is tragic for everyone involved. A separation isn’t the worst outcome in the aftermath of a situation like this. You both are taking a time out from a relationship that has progressed to this painful point.

It goes without saying that your children can’t be exposed to violence between their parents. In fact, you could go to jail if you do something like this again in the presence of your children. I realize you were pushed to the brink and possibly were being verbally abused. Regardless of what pushed you over the edge, your priority is to protect your children from seeing or hearing this type of aggression from either of you. A marital separation can be a protective measure so your children never have to experience something like this between their parents.

I obviously don’t know anything of your marital history, so it’s difficult to know why your husband says he’s done with the marriage. If you want to stay married to him, then use this time to work closely with an individual therapist to better understand your own contributions to the marital struggles. You might see these same patterns in your other relationships, so it’s worth it to use this as an opportunity for self-reflection and personal accountability. If your husband is open to it, then marital counseling can also be a safe place for you both to work on the relationship while you’re separated.

Your husband may change his mind about staying married, but you have to be prepared to accept his decision. It’s not helpful to threaten or coerce him to stay in the marriage. Stay in your own personal accountability for your contribution to the marital struggles. Continue to be accountable for striking him and being aggressive, even if you felt provoked. You are in charge of your own reactions. If there are patterns in the marriage where he’s been verbally aggressive or physically hurtful to you, then use this separation as a chance to clarify boundaries around what you will and won’t allow in your future interactions.

You may also use this time to consider whether or not you want to stay in this relationship. You both need time and space to reevaluate what you’re both doing in this relationship. These escalations can’t keep happening.

Your husband feels uncertain about the marriage. If you feel certain about it, then look hard at your own contributions and make the needed repairs. If you’re uncertain about it as well, then this is an important opportunity for you to come together and have some structured conversations about your future. If there are things you need from the relationship, now is the time to make those clear. Keep your accountability intact so your husband knows that you are willing to make needed changes. If he’s willing to offer you the same conditions, then your conversations will be more honest and productive.

This slap doesn’t have to be the end of your marriage. It can be a signal that there are unresolved patterns that need serious attention. Use this space as an opportunity to examine all aspects of yourselves and your relationship.

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

Email: [email protected]

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  • Hataalii December 27, 2017 at 9:21 am

    You need to get your temper under control. An Anger Management Class is something you really should get into. This is for your own benefit, and the protection of your kids.
    I may be wrong, but I’m betting this is not the first time you have resorted to physical violence with hubby, and probably the children as well. I’m not saying you were not pushed beyond the breaking point, I have no way of knowing. But regardless moving to physical violence can only lead to bad things happening.
    I’m not going to address anything else here, because Geoff has done a good job of dealing with other matters, (as much as can be done from the sketchy information.)

  • Sapphire December 27, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    He doesn’t sound particularly committed or concerned with his children having a family. He doesn’t care if his children are alone with their mom if he leaves, so she couldn’t be that dangerous to anyone. Women don’t normally get that angry for no reason. Looks like he found an out from his responsibilities.

    • JJ December 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      In other words, if a man hits a woman, it’s because he’s bad. If a woman hits a man, it’s because he did something to cause her to react that way. So 100% of DV situations involving a man are the man’s fault.

  • ladybugavenger December 27, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Your husband was smart enough to not hit you back (even tho he wanted to) and needs to get away from you so he doesn’t go tojail for assault.

  • Redbud December 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    If she was my wife, and repeatedly used physical violence against me, I would leave her too because I won’t hit a woman. It doesn’t matter if it’s the husband or the wife being the abuser, it is NOT ok. If you think it is OK, there is something wrong with you. I hope he does leave her because I would never tolerate that.

    • Sapphire December 27, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Except the first thing she said is that hitting him was completely out of character for her. Then he turned passive aggressive which makes working anything out impossible. Have to be curious what he did that made her that angry and frustrated.

      • Redbud December 27, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        I’ll give you that much, maybe he did or said something and deserved it, but unless we hear the rest of the story, we’ll never know. It had better be something serious though, and not just refusing to take out the garbage, or refusing to watch her favorite reality TV show with her.

      • JJ December 27, 2017 at 9:36 pm

        It doesn’t matter what he “must have done” to deserve getting hit. It wouldn’t matter because there is never any justification for domestic violence. Never.

        • Redbud December 28, 2017 at 9:07 pm

          If he confessed to cheating on her, then yes, he would deserve it. If either husband or wife, cheats on their spouse, the offender most definitely deserves a nice big intentional slap across their face. It would be completely justified too. It’s a good thing I am not in charge of this country, because if it was, I would allow public execution of cheaters. It would be slow and painful, and would deter those who would be unfaithful to their significant other. Might sound harsh, but I am tired of hearing marriages and families getting torn apart by cheating. I don’t really know that many people in general, but I can no longer count on 10 fingers how many stories I have heard of families torn apart for this reason. It is selfish, and I hope anyone who practices it burns in hell.

  • ladybugavenger December 27, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I can’t believe Bob hasn’t chimed in. I’m sure he has experienced a slap

  • comments December 27, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I divorced my first wife because she had psychotic issues, which over time developed into violent psychotic rages. None of these mental issues were apparent before we were married. The point: we don’t have the full story here by a long shot. Sounds to me like the abuser here is somewhat in denial about what she is.

    • comments December 27, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      at least somewhat…

      • ladybugavenger December 28, 2017 at 6:04 am

        There you are Bob ?

      • ladybugavenger December 28, 2017 at 6:11 am

        I can’t help but think you caused your ex mental issues. “Atheism” causes mental disorders, that’s my conclusion ?

        • comments December 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm

          LOL, you think my “atheism” drove my ex-wife to become the psychotic nutjob she became? We actually rarely if ever discussed religion or my “atheism”. Just over a few years she became a lunatic. Maybe I caused it? who knows. I think mental illness ran in her family so i doubt it. Anyway, I decided to stop being an “atheist” recently. I’m not gonna delve right into being a bible loon, tho. I admit I really dislike most of the old testament. It seems to go on forever, and I”m not sure how much of that old jewish mythology applies to the real world. Gives me a headache just because of how much content there is… old jewish mythology, lol

          • ladybugavenger December 29, 2017 at 12:57 pm

            ? happy New Year Bob!

          • comments December 30, 2017 at 6:19 pm

            YOU TOO LB! 😉

  • JJ December 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    i had to stop here: “I realize you were pushed to the brink and possibly were being verbally abused.” Thats quite an assumption, and I can’t help but think it’s because of the role of the female as the abuser. If the husband slapped the wife, no one would dare say “I realize she must have done something to cause you to react that way” so why should there be a double standard? Because men are supposed to take abuse and women aren’t? Or is it because women slaps aren’t as strong as man slaps? No one, regardless of gender, should accept physical abuse in a relationship. This article should have been much shorter: ” you messed up real bad, you committed DV, he has no obligation to work it out with you, so start mentally preparing for divorce.”

  • 42214 December 27, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Poor guy was the victim of domestic violence. I hope he gets therapy and deals with the PTSD.

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