1 Thing You Need To Learn If You Want To Be Happy In Your Relationship

Tom MacKay
Hello, Love
Published in
9 min readJun 26, 2020

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Almost 8 years ago I was having bereavement counselling for my mother’s death when my counsellor made me aware I was being emotionally abused in my marriage. Of course, it should have seemed obvious that my wife telling me I wasn’t allowed to eat in the same room as her and her daughter, couldn’t talk out loud in the evening or use the bathroom in the morning, to name just a few things, was abusive. But the abuse started gradually with small things which were given justifications, making me seem bad if I didn’t oblige. I wasn’t able to have friends over, because my wife was often busy in the evenings and said it wasn’t fair for me to see my friends if she didn’t have time to see hers. I had to clean my laundry separately because “mens’ clothes just smell more than womens’”. When I tried to talk about any of these things, I’d get shot down. I’d be told to ‘be a man about it and stop getting upset’. Or she’d completely withdraw emotionally until I complied. For years, I’d started feeling anxious about going home, preferring to work late, although when I did I was made to feel guilty about being out when she wasn’t able to. Towards the end of the relationship, I’d spend night after night in tears in the bedroom, where I had to spend hours on my own, not even being allowed to go to the kitchen to get water.

So the question is, why on earth did I stay in the marriage so long?

The answer to that question is quite complicated. However, one of the biggest learnings I’ve had to help me understand how I got into this mess, and stay there for years, is about attachment styles.

Understanding your attachment style and your partner’s can not only help you avoid getting into potentially abusive relationships, but also hold an important key to unlocking happy and fulfilling relationships.

Attachment theory explores relationships between people, more importantly the deep, lasting bonds that hold us together. It can help you understand why some people seem to find it so difficult to have long term relationships, and why some people stay in relationships where they seem unhappy. It can explain why there are some people who keep going out with the ‘wrong’ type of person, even when it is obvious to everyone else. And why some people are so stuck on…

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Tom MacKay
Hello, Love

Psychologist, psychotherapist and musician. Passionate about helping people achieve more fulfilling lives and relationships: therelationshipmaze.com