Fri 5 Aug, 2016 08:11 pm
I'm 35 years old and have been married for 10 years to a man 8 years older than me. We have 3 children. My marriage has never been a walk in the park, but I am really feeling like I want out, but also feeling guilty for feeling this way. My parents divorced when I was a young child, my mom hasn't dated since and my father has been married 4 times. So, I've never had a great example of marriage. My husband is of the belief that everything that happens is normal and it's just stuff you deal with, I'm just not sure how much longer I can deal.
My husband is very mean and hurtful with his words, to me and to our children. It's a daily thing for him to get so mad at at least one of us that he tells us we're an idiot, calls us stupid, pathetic, etc. He has his moments when he can be very nice and fun to be around, but then he flips a switch and is so nasty. I graduated with my teaching degree after going back to school a few years ago, and I'm having a very difficult time finding a job. My husband has told me that I will "suck as a teacher", and that I'm not getting jobs because I'm so insecure and people can see that through my "facade" and I am screwing up interviews by not selling myself. Then the next moment he will be very understanding and say he's proud of me for trying so hard. Then he'll make a biting remark about how screwed we are going to be financially and how he's going to have to be the one to make all of our money because I obviously can't get a job.
He also has always had several social activities that he would get involved in and is often gone until 2am or later on the weekends. If I ever protest about any plans he has, he always says "you're just jealous because you don't have any friends". However, when I try to do something social myself he always tries to sabotage it in some way, either before I go so I can't go, or he'll constantly text me while I'm gone and figure out a reason that I need to come home. It's very rare that I do anything at all, but recently I've made several teacher friends and have gotten together with them a couple of times this summer, and he is always angry with me about going. The other day, a friend of mine invited us to swim and she and I were going to work on some projects for her classroom. He refused to go, as he wants nothing to do with any friends or family of mine, so I took our kids and went without him. He was angry and said that it was "weird" that I wanted to go do projects and that we didn't need to go to her pool because we have passes to the local pool.
In addition to this, I have caught him talking to other women several times over the years. I would find emails, phone records, instant messages, and webcam chats that he had screenshot. Many of these conversations were of the sexual nature and I can't count the number of times that I've found emails that women have sent him of nude photos of themselves. He always gets mad at me for "snooping" and says I'm insecure and he's done nothing wrong. For many years he also never wanted to have sex with me, maybe once every 4-6 months, and would turn me down immediately if I started to try to be intimate. I get attention from men, always have had random men approach me to tell me how beautiful I am and people often think I'm in my early to mid 20's. So it's not like I've let myself go and that's why his attraction wasn't there. Though, he seems to want to be sexual more frequently now (about once a month or every 3 weeks, though he did go from about February-late April this year without wanting to touch me or be touched), he will often ,make comments about how I've gained weight (I started working out and built a little more muscle in my butt and thighs) and my butt is getting big. He's said on more than one occasion that he believes he's the more attractive one of the two of us and believes that ALL women are attracted to him.
That leads me to some embarrassing moments that have also caused us trouble recently. My husband has his own business, but has substitute taught for extra income for the last few years. The students really do seem to like him and the teachers as well. However, he has told me of instances where a certain female student has texted him about watching a TV show and how he felt sorry for her because her boyfriend treated her badly and wanted her to have a threesome. I was appalled that he would talk to a high school student about her sex life, and I told him that he could get in to trouble for that' He said that she was over 18, so he wasn't doing anything wrong and that he just felt sorry for her and was trying to help her out and be someone she could rely on and talk to. Also, whenever we go through a drive-thru to get treats at a popular hang-out for some of his students, he will always look to see who he knows and then call them over to the car to chat. It's always a female. I have no problem with him saying hi to students in public, but to seek them out and call them over, I find it embarrassing and a little creepy.
That's just a quick snapshot of what has been wrong with our marriage. I just don't know how much more I can take. I should also mention that 5 years ago, the lack of intimacy really got to me and I ended up seeing another man for a month. Once my husband found out, he finally agreed to go to therapy, which he had always refused, but made me confess what I had done at an "intervention" with his siblings. I truly felt horrible for what I did, even though I had caught him talking to women so often, I hated that I stopped to that level and with someone he knew of. I have never before or since talked to another man and I did everything he wanted to show him how sorry I was. He still makes frequent comments about it to this day, calling me a lying and shady person. We only attended therapy for 4 months before he refused to go back, I also found out that the entire time he had been talking to a woman in another state who had been sending him photos. The last email I've found was 2 years ago, but I no longer have access to any of his accounts.
At this point, I don't know what to do. If I can't get a teaching job, then I must continue to deal with this, I won't have a choice. But I am having such a difficult time letting go of the mean things he does and feeling like we all have to walk on egg shells so often because of his moods. Whenever I say anything back to him or become defensive he says that he can't stand me, wishes he had never married me, wishes I would get away from him, and he can't believe he's put up with me for so long. Yet, at the same time he doesn't believe that we should ever separate because it'd be detrimental for our children. He has told me numerous times that this is normal family and marriage drama and that I'm too dramatic and a big child to be bothered by it. I've asked him to go back to therapy for years and he said he will never go back because there is nothing about him that needs improving and he feels that the mean things he says are necessary and actually helpful.
Again, that's just a snapshot. I could write a novel about the things that he says and does that seem very extreme to me. However, without having a good example of a marriage to go by, I wonder if what he says is true and maybe I am over dramatic? Maybe this is how marriages are and these are just things we need to work through or deal with. My mind is a jumbled mess trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong. Anytime anything bothers me that he has said or done, I'm told that I'm overreacting or psycho, or delusional, or insecure. I can't remember a time when my feelings have ever been validated. When I'm sad or upset with someone, 9 times out of 10 he will tell me I have no right to feel upset or be sad or mad. Only when my grandmother (very much like a mother to me) died last year has he actually seemed to feel sympathy for me. Though, 3 days later he yelled at our oldest for not finding his shoes and threw the shoes at him and called him stupid, I told him that it was not ok to do that, we had an argument, and the next day I was crying about my grandmother and told him I could use a hug, to which he replied "hug yourself, you're nothing but a spoiled brat that doesn't deserve a hug". Even at her funeral, as I stood an sobbed, he refused to touch me, which my family noticed and they were all very bothered by that.
I hope that this wasn't too hard to follow. Writing this, I feel like maybe I am just a needy, annoying person, as I've been told. I just don't know what to do or think about this.
You're not happy, your children are not happy, your husband is not happy, and your husband doesn't care that you and your children are not happy. In fact, it sounds like he is committed in his desire for you to not be happy. The detriment to your children should you two separate is nothing compared to the detriment to them if you don't. Your husband is into mind games, and do you really want your children to be at the receiving end of his games? Would you agree with what I have stated here?
You already know what to expect if you stick around. The choice should be easy. If you want to remain sad all your life, stay with him. He'll guarantee your future in misery. Life is too short to live in that kind of lifestyle.
I agree 100%. In fact, we have discussed the fact that neither of us are happy. He thinks that he's had to put up with a lot from me and it's made him unhappy (when asked what about me bothers him, it's that I'm messy, too close to my family, and I don't like the way he talks to us). But, he feels that I should be happy and feel lucky that he married me. He never proposed. He honestly went back and forth for awhile about whether or not he ever wanted to be married, then one day said he "guessed" we could get married and I should plan everything and we'd tell everyone once he got the ring. I panned everything alone, because he didn't get the ring (which I shopped for and picked out alone) until 3 months before the wedding and he didn't even want family knowing before then. He's said ever since that he only married me because of our oldest child, who was mine from a previous relationship and 14 mos old when we met. He said he didn't want to abandon him. So I should feel lucky that he married me. And that the only reason he is with me now is because of the kids. To him, that should be enough to make me happy. This he has said. But that, he is the only one who has a right to be unhappy because of what he "puts up with".
I also agree that in the long run the kids would be better off, though he thinks otherwise and has even said that if we separate it would be on me and a very selfish move. He thinks our kids are happy and for me to think otherwise is crazy. Last fall I was student teaching, doing a great job, and loving every minute of it. I was making friends and just felt great. I know that my being in such a good mood all the time about something that had nothing to do with him or the kids would lead to arguing. Which, to an extent it did. He definitely seemed more hostile toward me. Then one night, out of the blue, we were eating dinner and he said he wanted me to leave. I asked him where that was coming from and he said that he'd just been doing a lot of thinking and he couldn't deal with how messy I am and how much I talk to my mom and he wanted me gone. He told me to find somewhere to go that night. I was upset because I had nowhere to go and went outside to call my mom. When I came back in the kids were upset because he told them that I was leaving them. I said "# 1, if I go, they go, I would never leave my kids and #2 YOU told me to leave." He said "Well, you know you could've said you'd do a complete 180 and change, but you have never said that, so in my mind, you're the one that's causing this." Then, the very next day he told me that he didn't want me to leave and that it would screw the kids up too much if we separated.
I know that I am not perfect. I'm a worry-wart, especially about my children, and can definitley be messy and insecure. But, I've always been willing to go to therapy and actually did go on my own last year (which he was angry about because he said I was probably doing something sneaky that I wanted to confess, but yet he refused to go with me), he is the one that completely refuses to go or change.
So while I do agree that everyone is unhappy, I kind of also feel that the kids would be even more unhappy if we separated. They love their dad, even though they do often ask me to take them somewhere to get away from him for awhile. But they love him and they live for the lonts we have as a family that are actually enjoyable. So taking that away from them for forever does make me feel selfish and guilty.0
Dr Phil is no genius. But one thing he says that I think is very true and applies in this circumstance is "Children are better off coming from a broken marriage than living in one". Don't stay miserable because you think there might be a chance your kids will suffer. Kids can understand and bounce back from a lot more than they are often given credit for. And this is your life, too - not just his. Your one and only, no do-overs and no alibis life.
I'm with the guys.
There is nothing to be gained from hanging around.
BTW, a #protip - if he's claiming you're insecure and then he's also belittling you, then he is one of the (if not THE) causes of your insecurity. And then he turns around and does it again. It is a vicious cycle and he is the cause of it.
Break the cycle. Teach your children that marriage doesn't mean taking it.
He exhibits so many bizzare behaviors that no wonder you feel kind of crazy. Those kind of people ARE crazy-making! His verbal abuse is really disturbing.
And you are now seeing just how crazy acting he is because you have begun to associate with "normal" people.
See a lawyer and find out your financial rights. Then get yourself prepared to make it on your own.
Summer, this is definitely NOT what marriage is supposed to be like. Ideally there should be mutual respect, support and affection. No marriage is perfect but couples should strive for the ideal and never stop trying.
You should have a man who genuinely loves you, and LIKES YOU as well. One who is concerned with your happiness and well being. One who doesn't resort to yelling at you and calling you names. There are better and more adult ways of dealing with problems.
Your husband should have a woman who will stand up to his bullying and manipulation and mental and verbal abuse and not tolerate it.
Of course the children love their father. Even the most abused children love their parents. The question is what's best for them and for you. From what you describe, you and your children would be better off away from your husband.
As has been said, Your marriage obviously needs to end. No one should take the abuse you described.
I'm not saying your situation is anything like this but FWIW, make sure it isn't.
Your complaints and how you describe them sound disturbingly like the ex wife of a friend of mine. I knew this couple well for many years and while neither of them were perfect (who is?) he was a normal guy, nothing like the monster you describe.
I was having breakfast with them at their place. As she was buttering the toast in the kitchen, (he was cooking the bacon and eggs) he very politely asked her to put a little less butter on his toast . She started crying then went into a long diatribe of how she could never do anything right in his eyes. I knew this was not true but he apologized. I don't think she even heard his apology.
I'm confused by your example. Are you saying that maybe I'm like the ex wife? And possibly being too sensitive to his criticism? Because that's a fear of mine, that I really am being too sensitive. I don't see me getting that upset about something that small, and I rarely cry. But I do think I'm becoming more sensitive to every little thing because there is just constant criticism. Also, other than my own family and his, friends and acquaintances would say that my husband is a "normal" guy too.
I can't really know Summer. But, you will probably never be able to see the situation or yourself clearly while in that relationship. Being by yourself may be the only way to find out.
If what you have said in your first post is true, then you are not being overly sensitive.
It is all 100% true and there are many more examples that I could give.
Something else I feel like I should be concerned about, but he disagrees. He had a good friend from high school, she is a former swimsuit model, absolutely gorgeous. I know they kissed once. I have never met her and throughout our almost 13 years together he was never in touch with her until a couple of years ago when they reconnected on Facebook. She is divorced and recently remarried with two small children. I know that he texts her and calls her fairly often now. He never talks to her in front of me, though he sometimes tells me when he's spoken to her after the fact. He says they've always been the type of friends that could talk to each other about anything and I do know they discuss their marriages (as far as I know hers is going well). A couple of years ago he had plans to go visit her while she was in town (she lives 3 states away now) and didn't want to take the kids or me with him. He said we'd "be bored" which is something that is commonly said by him. He couldn't understand why I was upset that he was going to meet up with this beautiful old friend of his alone, and of course, blamed my insecurities. Well, she ended up not coming in to town, so it was a moot point. However, just a few months ago I came home from work and he and our youngest son told me about the play date and lunch they had had with her and her child. Obviously, it's not something that I'd known about beforehand. I didn't make a huge deal about it because I knew my feelings or thoughts on it weren't going to matter to him and it had already happened. But, it my mind, there's something just not right about a married man meeting up with a woman that his wife has never met or spoken with, that he has only recently gotten back in touch with. It's like all the nude photos I've found that women have sent him and messages that I've found and to him, there is nothing wrong with any of these things. His logic is that he can be friends with and talk with whoever he wants and he can't help it if they choose to send photos to him. With the history of me finding so many inappropriate conversations and photos, he still can't fathom why is be skeptical of him having a "friend".
Meanwhile, I worked with a guy last year when I student taught and subbed, who offered to revise my resume for me and basically wrote the entire thing. He has messaged me a couple of times over the summer to see how things are going with my job search and my husband says that he "must REALLY like" me to be that concerned with me getting a job and that he doesn't like that he's so invested in how I'm doing. Really, this guy has been nothing but nice and never out of line or flirty with me. Just super helpful and friendly. So I kind of feel like my husband has a double standard, especially since I leave my Facebook messages open for him to read anytime he wants and he's read the messages between us.
Good lord girl, get some self-respect.
Your husband does have a double standard. Not maybe, not possibly.
I know that's what I need to do, but I'm so afraid of how it's going to turn things upside down. I'm miserable living in this dysfuction, but at the same time, it's what I know and I'm comfortable in this environment...unhappy but comfortable, if that makes any sense at all. I just don't like the idea of the very long term discomfort that I will be feeling and will be causing my kids to feel. It's the fear of getting that ball rolling and stepping outside of this comfort zone that keeps me paralyzed. I've been in this mode where I live for the occasional normal or happy moments that we have and just deal with the rest. It's really kind of sickening how happy I get when things are going well for even a day. It's like a part of me still holds on to hope that things will change, but really I know better.
I'll pipe in to this thread and say that I agree with advice so far, strongly. If you stay, you will extend your misery at great length, and past this being just about you, continue to mess up what your children are experiencing living in this environment all the time. If you can't rescue yourself, because you are comfortable in your few ok hours, then rescue your children's view of marriage, a matter that they may have in their own futures. Get a grip.
Y'know, there is a comfort in just hanging around.
But that comfort is a lie. Because this is not a comfortable situation, not by a long shot.
You have taken risks before in your life. Yes, this is a pretty big one.
No, scratch that, it's not.
Happiness is not a risk. Happiness is, well, kinda awesome.
You can do this.
I know that's what I need to do, but I'm so afraid of how it's going to turn things upside down.
Things are already upside down. If you turn your present situation upside down, it will be right-side up.
Another fear I have is being alone forever. My mom hasn't dated since 1989, when my dad left her for his 2nd wife. I watched her let her life just pass before her eyes. She's now in her 60's and its like she's given up, which is sad to me. I don't want to be like that. I know being alone is better than being in a bad relationship and it would be better for my kids, but she just seems so lonely. And I can't imagine that the market is too good for a divorcee with 3 kids, attractive or not. I'm going to contact a counselor on Monday.
no "normal" guy would call you names and undermine your self confidence nor your children....i don´t think you fit that example at all, i would look for a supporting group or expert and end this horrible situation once and for all, if not for my own good i would do it for my children´s... they shouldn´t have to grow up in an abusive enviroment and struggle with the emotional damages resulting from it their whole life....