I'll try to make this as short as possible. I've been married for a little over four years. It's both of our second marriage and we each have two children from our previous relationships. 14, 13, 13 and 8. We dated for nine months before we got engaged and married six months after that. Looking back, our relationship was always tumultuous. When we met my husband was a fairly well functioning alcoholic, partied a lot, drank to passing out almost every night but it didn't effect his ability to work or take care of his children, usually. He suffered from depression and I did as well so I was understanding and requested that he cut back and also see a therapist. He did both and things improved. He was finally diagnosed with rapid cycling bi-polar and medicated properly.
On my side of the issues, I worked full-time, making good money till about three years ago when I was laid off. I attempted to find another job but the economy is terrible, as everyone knows. I have a degree but decided to go back to school for another one. My husband told me I had exactly one year to finish and so I pushed myself. During this time I became chronically ill. I ended up not finishing the degree because of being sick constantly. To shorten it up, I was finally diagnosed properly last spring and am now fully recovered. Healthier than I have ever been in fact.
The main problem is that my husband is very resentful of the fact that I haven't been working, he's very controlling with money especially since he makes all of it, very controlling with the time I spend away from him etc. When I'm home though he spends most of the time in the other room, won't really talk to me, doesn't want to get out and do things etc. We haven't slept in the same bed for almost three years due to his snoring so that hasn't helped. He wants me to work but when I did finally find a part-time job he was angry that I was going to be away from the house while he was home. I can't seem to make a right move. I know when I was ill that the housework didn't get done but he never helped much, if any with it and to this day likes to say that the mess isn't his so he's not picking it up. My friends tell me he is emotionally abusive but I hesitate to think this. I do feel beat down and exhausted but feel like since he's not yelling and screaming and calling me names that it's not that bad.
I do love him but I'm not in love with him. I have no feelings in general of affection towards him and we haven't had a decent sex life in years. If I get really upset and state my case he is better for a week or so and then I feel bad but he goes right back to being an ass. We're supposed to go to counseling but we have in the past and all it did was make us argue more. I just keep my mouth shut these days to avoid getting in "trouble" as I like to call it. I'm finally healthy and have been going to the gym regularly and he gets upset that I'm gone in the evening. I'm not giving that up though, since it's the one thing that makes me happy.
To add to all the turmoil I feel I recently started seeing an ex every couple of weeks or so. I've never cheated before and now that I am I'm surprised that I feel no guilt at all. I don't want to leave and be with this person, I just feel like I want to be alone. I'm shocked at how numb I feel about all of this. If I had a good job I'd have some options but as of now I don't. I don't know what to do, I don't want to be a two time loser. I've turned into this cold, callous person who isn't even remorseful about cheating and not being in love with her husband. Should I leave? Should we try counseling? I don't know if I should bother since I'm not even invested in the relationship anymore. God, this is so long and there is much more I could say but no one will read this if it's too long.
Sounds like DH needs a wake up call like I did last year. I do know see the ex is not going to help your relationship out. Check out the Affaircare website for details on Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers.
By the way - I moved out of our bedroom about 6 yrs ago to please her because of snoring. Poor excuse because I moved back in over this summer and she complained only once.
Start with spending some undivided attention time with your husband every week. Not watching TV, but together time. Try to capture some of that magic of when you 2 met. It's going to be hard and a long trip but it's well worth it. It won't happen overnight.
Another thing - you can't change or control hm - you can only change and control yourself!
I completely understand how you feel, as I have been through every bit of it. Like you, I didn't know at the time that I was being verbally/emotionally abused. I mean I didn't know there were terms and definitions for what I was going through. I only knew I didn't like how he treated me, I didn't like how he made me feel, and that I wasn't going to put up with it. Soooo, I ceased to like him or have any respect for him. He was my boyfriend of only a few months but before I left him, I also had an ongoing affair with an ex boyfriend. I enjoyed the affair for several reasons, and revenge was the sweetest reason of all. Boyfriend had no business thinking he could mistreat me. He had no business mistreating me and being of zero use to me in bed to top it off. And I do mean he was useless in bed......in every way imaginable. At first, this was not intolerable to me because I cared about him enough to think we would be able to work on that part of our relationship. But as soon as I moved in with him, he immediately began mistreating me. I quickly lost respect and wasn't going to bother working on anything except moving back out.
Your friends are right that you are being abused. Anytime you are controlled (I can't seem to make a right move) and/or made to feel bad about yourself (I do feel beat down and exhausted) you are in an abusive relationship because THAT is abuse. Whether you know the exact definitions is not for you to question but to find out, and you can find out by googling very simple criteria like "symptoms of abuse" or "signs of abusive men."
Here are two articles that will help you identify abusers, and you will likely see your husband several times.....
I know you find it surprising that you are numb right now, but there is logical explanation. One is the fact that he has so aggressively and methodically destroyed the love you had for him. Another is he has also destroyed whatever respect you had for him and your marriage. And another is he has hurt you so badly since not returning your love, as well as showing you he does not love you (treating you badly is the opposite of loving you) obviously makes you feel unloved and unworthy.
Being abused destroys a woman's self esteem in many ways. Every woman needs to feel she is worthy of love and desire. You needed the affair to help you restore your self esteem and sense of worth. It is difficult at this point to give a darn about how he feels anyway, but the affair basically had nothing to do with him. It is something you needed as a result of his mistreatment. Plus, you cannot stand the thought of him touching you, which is also result of his mistreatment. Yet, you do need good lovin' which I call maintenance. The only thing is it would be a good idea not to lead the other guy on. He's serving a purpose for you right now, so it would be best you both are aware that a rebound relationship is a bad idea.
You are also lacking the self esteem required to make a decision about your situation. You want out of it but keep making all kinds of excuses to stay in it. Using him for convenience is not fair play, and you don't seem to have the confidence to just leave and free yourself from this debilitating emotional bondage. You seem to think you cannot make it without him, but that is not true. All you need to do is fight to get your self esteem back and know you DO NOT deserve this. You do not deserve to be treated this way. Please don't respond back to tell me "I know I don't deserve this" because if you knew it, indeed you would not still be there and would not be posting this thread on a marriage forum.
Yes, counseling is the answer, but not just marriage. You need abuse counseling to help you find yourself again and restore what he destroyed and to help you figure out why you tolerated being abused.
If you want to consider saving the marriage, you first have to leave. After that, you should demand that you both attend marriage counseling. The reason for leaving first is to physically remove yourself from the situation completely in order to end the abuse, as well as to let him know you are serious in refusing to tolerate abuse any longer. He needs to get the message that counseling is necessary for there to be any hope of repairing the marriage. He will beg and plead and make all kinds of promises. He will agree to counseling. Frankly, he will agree to anything you request in order to convince you to come back. He will say anything and everything he knows you want to hear. But you have to stay strong and refuse reconciliation until he proves himself sincere by attending counseling for abusers and marriage counseling for at least 2 or 3 months. Without this display of sincere effort on his part, you will simply return to the exact same abusive situation, so there is no point in going back and giving in to all his begging and pleading.
Thank you River, you are spot-on for everything. I totally lack the self-esteem to get the hell out. Being sick for so long, being laid off and gaining weight made me feel like it was ok to be his whipping-girl. I haven't been happy in a long time but I think finally being healthy and getting back into shape has helped me realize there could be life after this. There are millions of people who have been divorced twice and no one thinks they're bad people. The guy I'm seeing is married as well and although not happy is not willing to leave or commit to anything deeper than sex. This is fine with me, I'm pretty bitter towards men right now as it is. I'm going to look at the articles and talk to a counselor and try and get the nerve up to separate.
The guy I'm seeing is married as well and although not happy is not willing to leave or commit to anything deeper than sex.
Oh gosh. That he also is married is so not good. That you mention he's "not willing to leave or commit to anything deeper than sex" tells me you want more or that the two of you have discussed it for that reason.
I hope you don't mind me lecturing you. I don't mean to speak as if you are a child. It's just that people don't normally recognize their tendency to repeat patterns, why they repeat those patterns, and therefore don't understand the resulting consequences then they happen. For example, you describe your husband when you met him as "a fairly well functioning alcoholic, partied a lot, drank to passing out almost every night" but this guy is undesirable to any woman, or certainly should be. Now, you have taken up with a married man, someone who is also undesirable. What I see this meaning - and believe me, I am no psychotherapist - is you have had low self esteem for a long time, and you wrap your sense of worth around men. You don't mention anything about the first marriage or that husband, so of course I've no idea how he ties in. I'm just saying I really think you have some soul searching to do and counseling will be able to help you. And look at it this way: If you need to get the nerve up to leave the abuse you endure from your husband, then you really should, and very closely, examine that sentence all by itself. For me, it was hardly a matter of getting the nerve up. I couldn't get back out fast enough because there is no way I was going to allow the abuse to continue. I think too much of myself to permit my sense of self (who I am) or my sense of worth (merit of quality, ability, desirability, and respect) to be determined by another person. Value yourself, and you would never allow yourself to be devalued.
It doesn't really help to be bitter towards men. Men and women both will do/say whatever they can get away with for as long as you permit them to get away with it. You have to realize how a person treats is determined by you, not them. Learn to love Tiredspouse more than you love a man, and you won't have this problem ever again. That doesn't mean you will never again meet an unkind man, nor does it mean you will never again meet an abusive man. It means no man will be unkind to you ever again and no man will abuse you ever again because you will put a stop to it the moment it begins, and that means loving yourself enough to leave the relationship immediately. Love yourself enough to know you don't need to get up the nerve to do anything. You just have to do it.
My first marriage was my high school sweetheart, we were together 12 years. We have two beautiful children and are still as good as friends as you can be with an ex. We grew up and apart and I finally left after 8 yrs of marriage. He was never abusive in any way.
The man I'm seeing, we had a conversation before we ever jumped into anything sexual. We both agreed that we didn't want more than a friendship and some company. That's how I know that he isn't looking for more and neither am I. He's great and fun to talk to but we've been there/ done that already. It was a self-esteem boost fir us both and quite frankly lots of fun. Stupid but fun.
I do think lack of self-esteem led me to an abusive relationship. My parents treated me the same way. I was at a point that I needed to be with someone and he was so attentive and loving at first that I got sucked in.
It's ok to lecture, it's not a smart move but filled a little piece of what was missing at the time.
Honey, you don't need to complication of an affair right now. You need to be on your own--learning to cope as a single mom would do wonders for the way you feel about yourself. Yes, it will be hard and you won't always make the best decisions (although you should consult with the kids' dad so your decisions about them will always be made as carefully as possible-and even then they won't always be right). But do what it takes to get out-find a roommate to share living expenses (rent out a room in your house, for example, if h moves out), take good care of your kids and devote all your extra energy to them for the next year or two. If you go back to school, go slowly--your kids will really need you for a while, to feel confident that this change isn't going to hurt them somehow. But you will feel so much better about yourself and much less willing to put up with someone who mistreats you, once you learn to feel good about yourself.
The affair is just a distraction. If you want the sexual relationship, keep it limited, and stop until you are legally separted b/c you really don't need that complication right now! Good luck.
I think River wrote a couple of awesome posts (as usual). Great insight, great understanding of the situation.
One thing..the affair thing...I'd break if off immediately. You admitted that right now you're not feeling anything. Towards anyone, about anything. My concern is what you might feel once you DO start feeling again. Once you DO start loving yourself again, and putting yourself before ANY man.
I'm not big on affairs. Exactly the opposite. I believe that someone that enters into an affair has something "broken" within them that needs to be addressed, and immediately. I'm not going to chastise you for having one, I'm simply stating how I personally feel. I'm no pollyanna over here..and I've been cheated on in my life. It doesn't feel good. All that does is further complicate an already complicated situation. And what if your husband finds out.
You owe it to yourself to provide YOU with the happiest, best life possible. I've been married twice, and am now in a longterm, committed relationship that I intend on being in until I die. I do not intend on marrying, though. My own personal thing. I married the 1st time at 17, and it lasted 3 years. I married again at 24, and it lasted 20. I never divorced my 2nd husband, I just booted him for good. He died 3 years after we split. I had 4 kids in that marriage. So maybe I don't look like such a "catch". Coupla marriages under my belt. 4 kids, with one still at home. Been through a LOT in my life. But I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. I finally..at 52 years of age...know ME. And I'm ok. Took me a long time to get there, b/c my kids dad was emotionally abusive as well. It was the lessons learned in that marriage that helped me have the ability to have the r-ship I have now.
I agree with sisters359 that you will be less tolerant to abuse when you start feeling good about yourself again. Please get into some counseling if you can, and read up on the links that River posted. I wish you the best.
Thanks for all the advice guys. I haven't seen the "other man" for a couple weeks and rarely talk to him. I think that's best as you do. I've been reading books and starting counseling, I've always been an independent person and this relationship has really broken me. And you're right, I am broken and that's why I was seeing someone. In a way it helped me realize that I do still matter as an individual, someone could still see me as a smart, attractive person. It made me wake up to what was wrong in my marriage so in that way I'm grateful for it. I'm setting the wheels in motion to leave although I don't know if it will happen till I can find a job with a steady income. I work but it's contracting and I can't be sure what work I'll have week to week.
It's going to be a lot of work finding myself again and I have no intentions of being in another relationship for a long time. Right now I feel like I'll never be able to trust someone enough to live with them, let alone marry someone. It's a very different reality this time. After my first marriage was over I really wanted to find someone to be with and this is where it led me. Now I'm not sure I'll ever want to commit again.
I am so glad that you're working on YOU. It all boils down to YOU anyway. You're starting to remember the wonderful woman you were. ARE.
After my marriage ended, I felt much the same as you do. I NEVER even WANTED another relationship again. I was fine where I was at in life. If I'd been alone the rest of my life, I KNOW I'd have been just fine. I was happy. I enjoyed my own company. I enjoyed my life. I dated..and that's all it ever was...just a date. The old fashioned kind of dating. It was just an evening of enjoying the company of the opposite sex. I did things with my girlfriends. I really, TRULY was enjoying my life. The last thing I wanted was a man to "take care of".
I was 45 years old with 4 kids (2 still at home, though one was getting close to getting on his own) and health issues. I don't make a ton of money. I came with my own baggage, biases and issues. I didn't look so good on "paper". My SO entered my life and changed all that. Simply put..my life is better for having him in it. He happens to be 10 years younger than myself, and I almost missed out on him b/c of the age difference. I didn't "do" younger men. This one was different, though..and I haven't regretted one second of my time or life with him.
You WILL heal from this relationship. You'll go forward and apply the lessons learned from living with this kind of man. Your inner "radar" will likely leave you sensitive towards spotting another one.
Please believe me when I tell you that when you TRUST YOURSELF, you'll be able to trust another man. It starts with YOU.
You are so not alone! All your feelings, emotions I have been living as well for the last few years. Just recently I came here and posted some things that I am finding by those who have responded to me, in taking there advise and researching, I've been living emotional abuse. Never EVER would have agreed. Actually, when I started reading the post, I felt aweful, like I painted a completely horrible picture of my husband. But I didn't. I would read and read over and over what I said and it was all true and to point. I printed off the entire post and gave to my mom to read. Of course she said "why would you post there they are coming at you with both barrrells." Yet, I am finding everything almost to the "T" is happening!
I too, love him, care for him as I hate he will be alone with no family around that he has given up his security home to buy our current home, I have the better job so it will be a struggle for him to start over, YET, I have more personal debt. A lot of his debt will be paid off if within next year should we stay together. His debt is more of what we accumulated togehter. Mine is mine. I know married it's all mutual, but I am not looking at it like that. One of my many guilts of what I feel is only right for what I'm doing to him.
I have confronted him that I want out and he is now extremely remoursful. Now ask if he gets anti depressents if that would help? He is seeking religon like no other at this time now speaking the Bible to me pertaining to marriage, commitments, vows. Begging for forgivness and asking for time to fix things between him and our 7yr old who fears him. He's very luck at her age, kids are resilient. She forgives him within minutes. However, I make it clear to him I know she doesn't forget.
It sucks hurting the people you once were deeply in love with. He now says he doesn't accept anything I say about wanting to move forward on my own. He says only way he will believe that is what I need is if I convince him I never loved him. His paster of only 4 weeks has him convinced this is all salvagable. With MASSIVE work, maybe it is. But, I have finally found a place that I'm comfortable knowing for me..it's not.
He continues to hurt me and add more guilt with his words. He STILL does not get it. Everytime I point it out, he finds a a reason for why he says it, justifying. OR apologizes and says I'm taking wrong way.
Yes, I believe once I (and you) move on, (if I can before I end up in straigh jacket) I'm sure we will be fine. It will hurt, be difficult, lots of ups and downs. But as many have said, when one door closes another opens.
Good luck to you and your journey. I hope we both find happiness, our confidence, and gain back our self esteem as we deserve it. Everyone deserves it.
Good luck with your journey, Emotional. I never would have labeled myself "abused" before. I thought if he wasn't yelling then he wasn't being abusive. He's very quiet and deliberate about his control, that way when I lose it he can say his typical "you're overreacting", "what's wrong with you?" etc. Physical abuse is widely recognized and condemned but I don't think a lot of people realize that they are being emotionally abused.
tiredspouse, it sounds as if your husband fits Tigress Luv's description of the Water Torturer. Clearly, you need to change some of his behavior if you're going to stay in the marriage, and, as a man, I can tell you that it's possible to do that. I used to behave a lot like your husband, yet my wife now considers me the world's best catch. (You can ask her.) Change is possible. But I get the feeling that the only thing keeping you in the marriage at this point is his financial support—that if you had your old income back, you'd be out of there like a shot. If so, wouldn't you be better off focusing on finding a job than putting more energy into a marriage that isn't working for either of you?
Hi Mark, you're right. Right now I'm so beat down and sad from all the years of his crappy behavior that I have one foot out the door. It would be better for everyone if he could change but I'm so numb right now I don't know if it would help. I stay because of the financial support and because I'm afraid of what his family will say, my family etc. This is my second marriage and I guess I feel like I should have known better. If I had a good job I could leave, get my own place and not worry about what other's think.