Question: Dear Luise: I’ve been married 20 years to a man who hasn’t loved me in 15 years. He has been unfaithful to me many times. He had one of his g-friends for 5 years. That was 3 years ago. Since then he has told me he hasn’t done anything since I found out about her, but I heard that one before. Last year I strayed and he found out. He can’t get over what I did. I planned to leave him, which I did but not with the guy I had the affair with. I just want out. We have 3 children and he blames me for everything. He says I am negative, always complaining and never happy. I told him I need to feel loved. His reply is how could he when I am always like this. I take the blame for everything and when I say that he says “oh, poor me.” I can never explain how I’m feeling without him telling me how he feels. I want to die to just get away from him, but I have the kids and don’t want them to have to live with that. What can I do, I work for him at HIS business and I know I will be broke because he will find a way to see I get nothing. I need help!!! P.
Answer: Dear P.: It took 20 years to get entangled to this degree and it’s going to take time to work it out. I think you need to go to a counselor, whether your husband agrees to go with you or not. You have a lot of sorting out to do. I am unable to tell if you are now separated or not. You say, “I planned to leave him, which I did” but you also say, “I work for him.” That’s all very complex and probably needs the hand of a professional before you can come up with a plan.
It sounds like you are both very disappointed and it’s clear that you have let each other down. You also both hold the other person responsible for how it has all turned out which may be true to some degree but blame isn’t getting you anywhere. Certainly your quality of life has suffered drastically.
Can you talk at all? Can you ask him how he wants to resolve this? What do you both want for your kids? What do you want, personally, besides not getting the short end of the stick financially? There are many different ways to approach the kind of failure you are experiencing, for instance…living in the same house but not “together.” It sounds like you are not going to become the woman he wants you to be and he isn’t going to become the man you want. If you can get some idea where you’re headed or even some general goals, that would help when you start working with a counselor. Blessings, Luise