Tried to make it work-No go....
New here. Heard about TAM from a friend. So here goes....
I'm 50 and have been married for 20 years and with her for 22 years total. We have 2 beautiful teenage daughters. I work as a medical consultant after having been a medic, FF and rescue specialist for 14 years. I'm successful (read that blessed). I make a good living and have provided for all of her and my daughters' needs and most of their wants.
I've been faithful to her the entire relationship, and as far as I know she has been too. The big issue here is that she has continuously grown more controlling and verbally abusive towards me and essentially everyone around her (and us). She treats our daughters based on how well they are controlled by her, she has alienated her family (Mom and Brother) and my family (Mom and Brother). Her only way of dealing with people is to "bring consequences" (what goes around, comes around is her favorite quip.) She takes things and privileges from the girls and frequently has withheld sex and affection from me for long periods (months at a time). Throughout the 22 years I've done my best to build a safe and loving environment for our family, but like a kindergarten kid, she seems to love "kicking my blocks over." What I keep trying to build, she sabotages.
Everything revolved around her and the girls. Over the years, after fighting with and losing to her, I pretty much had no life except work and following the three of them around shopping on weekends. No fishing, no hunting, no buddies, sports, nothing that I enjoyed doing. Just working all week and working around the house on weekends.
Before you say,"wait a minute! Nobody can control you! Stand up to her and be a man!" I am here to tell you, you can be controlled by your desire stay by your spouse and never leave your partner and children at all costs. I made a vow. It was forever. So I hung in there, tried to make peace and stick by her. For over 21 years, taking antidepressants and finding joy in my daughters' accomplishments when I could.
Eventually, she got to where she would "go to the wall" in arguments and make any attempt I made to discuss things rationally void with threats and verbal abuse that I just wouldn't match. I can be pushed only so far (outside of my marriage) until I walk away or punch somebody. I fear no one outside of my family. I will walk away from client MDs if they become unreasonable and if a man shows sufficient disrespect for me, I can and will take him OUT! But I can't do that with her. Walking was not an option (vow) and punching her lights out would never work either ("a gentleman just doesn't hit a female, lady or not." and I like my guns more than her and in this state, they take your guns away with even the suspicion of domestic violence.)
Last July, it all crashed. We were at an enormous event in Florida. Our kids were with us. We are active supporters of motorsports. That was really the only thing we did alone together until the girls got old enough to attend the racing activities with us and after that I had no time alone with her anymore. The thing started when I dropped the kids off at the rental house we had for the week and left a cooler in the truck. The girls called my wife after I joined her at the track and said "there's nothing to drink." Instantly my bride began to loudly berate me and call me a dumba** and a "sorry excuse for a father" in a very public area of the speedway. In front of over a thousand people...no exaggeration, over 1000 people!
I walked away. I tried to make up even though I was not wrong (there were drinks in the refrigerator, with ice and water). She wouldn't budge, so we spent the rest of the weekend apart.
When we got back home, she took the girls and went to her Mom's. The following Thursday she told me on the phone that she wanted out. I said fine.
(Trying to wrap this up, I promise.) I moved out, found a place in another county 45 mins away and found peace and re-acquainted myself with family, friends and activities that I missed for 20 years. My daughters didn't speak to me for 3 months (no doubt the reason for that.) She filed, I counter- filed. We were headed to the end.
Three weeks before Christmas, she called wanting to get together and talk. We did and she apologized, admitted fault and wanted to reconcile. She agreed to counseling and to work with me to reconcile. The preceding months were hell of court, attorneys, expense and ugliness. But she asked me to come home to her and the girls. We went to 3 counseling sessions in 3 weeks. I stayed at my house and we went out on a few dinner dates. On Christmas Eve, I drove 6 hrs through the night to meet her and the girls at a resort on Christmas Day and we all stayed together for 4 nights. We came home together and I began staying at our house together. I kept my house (rent and bills) up with the intent of closing it up when my lease was up. She was trying and we were doing better together. (Sex was better than I could remember in years.)
But she fell back into her old self. She refused to allow me to have a say in things with our daughters and the household affairs (just like old times), saying when I closed up my "other place" I could be a husband and father, not until then. Counseling, which I paid for in full, was more refereeing than reconciliation.
Finally, last Friday, the last straw was she cussed me out over allowing our daughters to ride home with our neighbors instead of dropping what I was doing to pick them up at a party that she was supposed to stay at and drive them home. She told me to just stay at my "place" and not bother to go to a festival with them the next day. So I did. Have not been back since. My clothes are still at our house. And she sent me a message that she was sorry we couldn't work things out.
So I guess it's over. I had hoped it would work. It didn't. All my friends and family and my attorney are all saying that I'm much better off.
I'm feeling somewhat better, but I am trying to shake the feeling of failure in my marriage and coming to terms with the end and prospect that my daughters will be with her and not me. I belong to no one. And no one belongs to me.
So that's my story. Help! Need to know how to cope and get through this. We have a final hearing date in June. The day after our 20th anniversary.
I know tons of people make it through this. I just need to find out how. I still love all three of my girls, but I can't go back only to disappear into working and surviving just to hold the title of husband and father.