Question: Dear Luise: : I have been married over 25 years now to the same man and I have children. About 10 years ago I really became aware of how mean and abusive he has always been to me. He is never wrong, nothing is ever his fault, he never apologizes, he never reveals emotions or feelings–being intimate really, he is always angry, fights, calls menames, yells every time I mention something mean he has done to myself or the children, embarrasses me in public, tells details to the children that he knows I dont want them to hear, does not talk to me when he comes in the door, withdraws sex for months at a time because I refuse to do things he wants, drives recklessly in the car sometimes when he is mad. The list could go on and on. My question is what do I do about it. I know he is abusive and I cant even sleep with him because he has lost my trust. I know the next minute he could be raging about something or doing something cruel to me. What do I do. I do not want to support myself or hurt any of my children by divorcing him. I would love a relationship that I get treated kindly and someone understands and empathizes with me. J.
Answer: You just answered your own question by writing, “I do not want to support myself or hurt any of my children by divorcing him.
Your husband is the way he is. He isn’t going to change. I married someone very similar when I was 20 and foolishly thought that marriage was happily ever after. I left him when my sons were 17 and 10. We were all damaged by that decision. I am 85 years old now and when I look back, I can see that my sons had a pretty miserable relationship role model in us. It spoke clearly of my husband’s lack of respect for us that was at the center of our issues…and of my lack of self-respect that I didn’t do anything about it for 18 years. I kept thinking I could change it or it would somehow run its course. That simply was not true.
I faced learning to support myself and it wasn’t easy. And my kids faced the break-up and that wasn’t easy, either. My husband was deeply hurt because he didn’t know how to be anybody except who he was. I can’t say I wish I’d never married him because of our sons. We were all hurt but I wonder if the hurt we lived with before I left him wasn’t even more lethal because it was undefined and never resolved.
So, the answer is that if you are going to stay, for whatever reason, the next step is to accept the unacceptable. There is no other choice. Blessings, Luise