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Childhood trauma Dear Maura: My husband wants to move out of home to sort out his issues

He never talks about his past so I was surprised to hear that he wants to move in with his younger sister and get counselling.

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Maura O’Neill has been responding to a wide range of problems and issues for the past 20 years as Agony Aunt with the Sunday World. With a Higher Diploma in Education and counselling qualification she also draws on her own life experience in responding to readers’ letters.

My husband had a childhood trauma which he never talks about.

His mother left when he was five and he didn't have a good relationship with his stepmum. He has three siblings from that family which he gets on great with. They are all girls and I think they always spoiled him.

Over the past few months I noticed a change in him. He's keeping away from me and the kids more than he normally does. They're both in their twenties and used to his behaviour.

He never talks about his past so I was surprised to hear that he wants to move in with his younger sister and get counselling. He feels that she will be more understanding, which is complete rubbish. We've lived with his moods before and he's heading off to her to heal!

She's a lovely person but he's my husband and this is where he belongs. She feels he will be more free to focus on himself living with her.

So what happens with me and the kids? Do we make an appointment to see him? Will he still come home sometimes? Not a good way to start the new year while he'll argue it's the best as he's doing something positive.

Answer: I think the tension and frustration on your part is because you feel totally out of the loop. He is your husband after all and you would expect to at least be included in a conversation about how this is going to work. Just talk to him about everything.

I totally hear you when you question when is he going to see all of you. On the positive side he knows he has work to do on himself and maybe he feels that you have all put up with him so long that you deserve a break when he goes through this process.

However, he needs to include you a bit more than he currently is. Explain this to him as I suspect he is concentrating so much on his life he's forgetting his role in yours and your adult children's.

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