13 years and I finally have some self respect
I've been married to my husband for nearly 13 years, and when we met I moved abroad to his country (I'm American, he's English). Despite feeling very vulnerable when relocating and having to start over in my career and life, I have done my best to carve out a good life for myself. My self esteem at that time (and really through most of my life) was pretty low, and I found it very difficult to express my emotions in the early stages of our marriage. However, no matter how I carefully chose my words if I was upset about something (eg I have always done the majority of housework, bill paying, organising activities and holidays, laundry, etc. but he does most of the cooking now - not always) and I dared to bring it up to him, he would fly into a rage and run off into the night. So this established an early pattern of abandonment issues when I was terrified and alone in a new country, and he was my only means of support and just couldn't offer any emotion support to me at all, in fact rejected my reaching out. This progressed over the years, and I began to withdraw. We had some big personal issues a few years later that wound up with him committing adultery. I caught him and despite my instincts, chose to stay. We were, at the time, working on starting a small business together and he convinced me that he really wanted to work things out and that we had more together than was worth throwing away. We did start the business, and it went well for a few years, but then massive local competition really squeezed us and we nearly had to close. I was made redundant from the business, and had to go find a job. He wasn't getting a wage from it most of the time, and fell into a deep depression. During this time (and other times when he has lost his temper) he was often violent - never physically towards me but around me, breaking glass, throwing things, destroying things, etc). He took all his misery out on me, and I was doing everything I could during that time to earn enough money to keep a roof over our heads and fed, plus taking care of EVERYTHING in the household, trying to keep him from killing himself, and trying to keep our business afloat as his misery was palpable to customers during that time. I had to put off an operation on my shoulder during this time because I couldn't afford to take the time off from the two jobs I was working as the sole breadwinner. Fast forward a few year, and I'm thriving in my career, and my husband has dragged himself out of his depression and we've managed to turn the business around. All the time he was spending recovering from his depression I was just managing to tread water and keep myself from going insane. So here we are a few years later, and I've made a lot of positive steps in my life to heal and move forward, including learning to respect myself and expect the same from others. He however has not, and continues to behave in incredibly selfish, childish, and sometimes frightening and irresponsible ways. A couple of years ago I had a job assignment long term in London which required me to work for the week there and come home on weekends. he was incredibly manipulative during this time, leaving the house an utter disaster, expecting me to do his laundry when I came home, etc. I called him out on his childish behaviour and it ended up him once again throwing a complete fit and telling me to fuck off and die and said he was leaving. So understandably I stopped coming home at weekends, and invited him up to my flat where it was tidy and all my laundry was done during my busy work week. He continued trying to manipulate me when we had a disagreement about an issue with the business, and threatened to hang himself. I had to arrange for a friend and the police to go check on his welfare. I knew he was crying wolf, but I had to be sure he wasn't. It was just another one of his childish manipulative tricks to get me to behave the way I always had when he treated me badly - to beg him to love me and not leave me. I now stand up for myself and tell him when he is being unfair. We still have quite a few issues and he is still very selfish, but I thought things were improving. I'm always very supportive of activities he wasnts to participate in, and because I make about 3 times as much money as he does, I happily share my good fortune with him and encourage him to spend on what he wants that will make him happy. However, I don't believe that should be without consultation. A few months ago immediately after a discussion about a diving trip he was going on, we agreed that it would be best if he borrowed a few pieces of equipment that he didn't have. The very next day he made a purchase on eBay of nearly £600.00 (about $1000 us) without discussing it with me AT ALL. I was furious, and we discussed his impulse problems and how unfair I thought his behaviour was. It quickly escalated into him flipping the dining table over, breaking everything on it and putting huge holes in the wall. He said he was leaving me and basically acted like a 3 year old having a tantrum. I moved out for a few days so we could discuss the separation and he immediately regretted it and expected me to come back home. I reluctantly did once he said he was going to get some counselling because he didn't know why he behaved the way he did. He promised it would never happen again (just like all the other times - I should have known!). Fast forward a couple of months, and guess what? This time it was a £1500 (over $2000 US) purchase THROUGH THE BUSINESS ACCOUNTS without consulting me! I didn't lose my mind. In fact, I've been quite controlled, but also very dispassionate. I can see that his promises of counselling were just lies to get me off his back. Once again, I am going to leave for a few days to clear my head and decide if I want to stay. The thing is, no matter all the good things we may have about our marriage, we have lacked intimacy for a very long time because I simply do not feel I can express my emotions to him without severe repercussions. So I have withdrawn more and more emotionally (and the last year or so physically) because I just don't feel emotionally safe with him. He has become my friend and housemate, not my husband. Except that we share a bank account and a bed. I feel this last incident has pushed me too far. I clearly deserve to be treated with more respect and not treated as a blank cheque book for him to do whatever he wants and lie (or omit the truth) at his convenience about it. I certainly do not condone him using money from our business fraudulently. But I cannot seem to get across to him why any of this is wrong and why I don't really think this time I want to stay married to him any more. My self respect says walk away, and I'm no longer even concerned that it will be difficult. I don't even feel like I'll miss him. I'm not even angry, just unbelievably disappointed that the lying and childish, selfish behaviour continues despite him claiming to love me and know how upset I am by it. When I was a weaker person, I felt I deserved such bad treatment, but I not longer do, and I feel if he cannot treat me with respect, he doesnt' deserve to be married to me. I guess writing this it sounds like I've made up my mind, and maybe I have, but something is keeping me from walking away. I am going to get my own personal bank account so that I can control my financial situation, and I've also arranged for the bank to mail business statements to me at another address so I can monitor his spending. I just simply don't know what else to try at this point. He has refused couples counselling over and over, and hates if I mention anything at all that happened in the past, even if it is contributing to my current feelings. Anyone else been in this situation? Any advise on what I can do next? I've done a lot of soul searching and I know I'm no angel. Im a scientist so I tend to be very practical and matter of fact. I'm a bit of a hedgehog - very prickly on the outside but soft and squishy inside. I've been hurt very deeply over the years of our marriage and I don't want to spend the rest of my life unable to ask for my needs to be met, or afraid to say when I'm unhappy about something. I haven't tried to change him, but clearly something needs to change. Anyone who can relate? Any advice?
well - I must congratulate you on the work you have done on yourself to built up your self-esteem and self-worth over the years - and keep a cool head - and manage to keep your career going : kudos !
he is obviously not going to change - does not want to go to counseling - does not want to make an effort - even though he tells you time and again he's sorry and what not : those are just tactics to keep you in the loop - he has evident psychological problems and needs help
I understand you may (sometimes) want to stay even though everything in you is telling you to leave/divorce/break up : there are always good memories to be had and he certainly has qualities and good points but obviously that's not enough on the list of pros and cons - so be realistic and see what's in it for you - if you can't even open up to him emotionally - I don't know what such a relation really is worth
there is no "saving" to be had : so please set aside any idea that you must "save" him - he's the only one who can change - nobody can do it for him
get your ducks in a row - materially - financially - and go : cut the cord - you have a life to live and nobody's going to do that for you - you're in charge
I wish you a very happy and successful new chapter of your life to come - without him :)
I have a very similar problem, any time i try to talk about my feelings or get upset my husband reacts of over the top anger. I feel the same way about not wanting to share anything with him because I known the response i will get.
I say leave, it hasn't changed in how many years? I am a stay at home mom with a 3 and 5 year old and if I had the money and means to leave I would. A separate place to stay. I understand you are with someone so long it is hard to imagine your life with out them. But do not stay with him out of pitty or because you feel bad. His life is his responsibility and if he wants to waste it being emotionally stunted, let him.