Are accusations about your past wrecking your marriage?

Tapan Mozumdar raised a question on Bonobology’s community forum asking how to deal with the accusations from the past. Bonobology readers share their views...

Tuli Banerjee | Posted on 17 Feb 2017
Time to read: 3 min
Is holding onto the past wrecking your Marriage? | Bonobology

You made a mistake, long ago. Your wife caught you in 2008 with four years worth of Playboy Swimsuit issues hidden under the mattress. Or in 2010, your spouse found your matchbox of marijuana hidden behind the shampoo bottles in the topmost shelf in the bath. Or three years back your husband caught you saying ‘Hi,’” to the man you liked when you were in eighth grade (your actual list of wrongs may be somewhat different). 

You have apologized for the blunder over and over. But your partner has not been able to forget your faux pas and constantly reminds you of the mistakes that you made. What do you do when your partner is not willing to let go of the past and you are left with no logic to defend yourself after so many years?

The logical thing to do for the one being hurt in the past would be to love their spouse harder. Unfortunately, what happens instead is the number one way to wreck your marriage: accusation. If an accuser repeatedly keeps bringing up the past of their partner, the accuser ends up pushing the other away instead of making them want to stay in the marriage.

Wife, if you find yourself hunting if your husband has a stash of Debonair magazines still hidden somewhere, you have a problem. Husband, if you constantly check your spouse’s mobile to make sure your partner is not texting an old flame, you have a problem. Wife, if you call your husband at work ten times a day just to see if he is actually there and not somewhere out partying with his friends, you have a problem. Even if your spouse has been guilty of what you are accusing them of, your accusations do absolutely nothing to heal the relationship. Instead, they drive your spouse away. The constant accusations permit the spirit of divorce to begin to work in your home.

What should a couple do when one of them is being constantly accused? Ask for separation and move on? What's the resort if a couple wants to spend the rest of their lives peacefully, asks Tapan Mozumdar.

Some mistakes leave a fragile scab underneath the open wound. A small hail of wind can expose them to brittle pain. “If you believe that it was truly a mistake, sometimes apologising can be beneficial,” advises Dr. Puneet Aggarwal. Try to communicate with your spouse, tell him that you are truly sorry for those past deeds. Also convey that those constant reminders not only hurt her, but torment you too.

Dr. Sanjeev Trivedi cuts the humbug with his caustic wit and asks the vocal spouse whether we must drive looking through the windscreen or into the rear view mirror. If you are the accuser, you may be angry reading this. You may think that people are being insensitive to what you have been through.  No one is trying to minimise your victimhood, but even if you have a list of reasons why you are suspicious and persistently accuse your spouse, you need to learn to forgive and bury the past. Holding onto the past and blaming your partner may give you a temporary feeling of peace and self righteousness; in the long run it only makes you an escapist, feels Kankana Roy.

It's a difficult proposition to sail through, since there are no tailor-made solutions available for such situations, says Archana Sharma. Either have the patience to bear the assault or move out of it, she recommends. Urmi seconds Archana and suggests that if you feel that there is literally no comeback, parting ways might make more sense. No one needs to be constantly judged and questioned.

Realise or make realise one's mistake, apologise and move on, asserts Deepshikha. Darshana Doshi tries to find a middle ground and says that if the accusations continue because the trust was broken ruthlessly, in such cases accusations can be replaced with love - only if one has diligently been honest thereafter. But in case there is no change in the spouse’s behaviour, seeing a therapist might help, following which separation can be considered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Drawing on the past has never helped anyone. One needs to rectify those mistakes, forget the past and move ahead as a couple. Stretching petty little things like a rubber band is not good for a healthy relationship. 

 

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