Question: Dear Luise: My husband and I met in high school and have been together for 12 years. We have 2 kids and on the surface we seem pretty normal but the marriage is a mess. My husband won’t help me solve any of our problems and is unwilling to seek outside help. He seems content to keep things this way even though we are both unhappy. He won’t talk to me about it and we can’t agree on what to do. He is a very angry personality and recently has become verbally abusive. He is angry with our 2 small children all the time and we do nothing as a family. I love him but I can’t see a future for us if we continue this way. He is very stubborn and refuses to accept anything other than his belief about this. I am so sad and losing hope but am afraid to approach it with him. He will not try and save the marriage if I wanted to leave, he would just let me leave. What do I do?! Jean
Answer: Dear Jean: The first thing you need to do is to get that you are in this “mess” alone. Your husband is not present. Yes, you and the kids see him coming and going and hear from him more often than you would wish, but he is not present.
That’s the way he wants it. That’s the second thing you have to face. He will own up to having a family and contribute his support but he is not interested in being a father or a husband. He demonstrates his position on a daily basis to all of you.
Number three is to ask yourself what you choose to do about it, if anything. You actually can see a future with him…it just doesn’t meet with your expectations. The future is going to a replay of the past. If you stay, you are pretty much throwing your life away and settling for an existence of quiet desperation. In addition you are role modeling for your children that what you have is what marriage is. Usually, the pattern is then so familiar that it is repeated and goes on for generations and generations. Not only will the unhappiness be perpetuated…so will the abuse.
We can all love people we can’t live with. Leaving won’t mean you don’t love your husband, but it will be a pro-active statement regarding your self-respect.
He won’t get help but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Find a capable counselor to guide you through these shark-infected waters. Stand up for yourself and stop the abuse and the lessons your children have already started to learn. The only other option is what you now have. Blessings, Luise