I have been in a troubled marriage for so long, I have lost perspective on how bad it may or may not be. Outside opinions welcome.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (62 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My husband and I have been married for 14 years and we have a 12-year-old child, who has some learning disabilities. He would never think of hurting us physically, but we live in a state of constant fear due to his emotional outbursts.
He is very angry about the lack of tidiness in our house. I have never been a tidy person, and he knew this when we married. We do have a housekeeper (1x/week), but there's a lot of clutter in our house. He recently told me "I am through with you as a person" as part of an outburst over the clutter. However, this drastic statement was not followed up on, although I told him how hurtful it was and tried to understand what he meant. Our stressful life together goes on.
When he helps our child with homework, he is very severe. They shout at each other. He doesn't seem to understand her limitations. He yells and force-feeds her information, and thinks that it's more important that she get a B in math than that she is a happy kid. She often asks me not to talk about her grades, or her losing things, to her father out of fear of how aggressively he will react.
We're never on the same page about anything regarding our child. He'll give one punishment to our child, which he has not discussed with me first, and they are usually so far beyond the infraction that I don't find them appropriate.
He's a workaholic, and in his time off he pursues a hobby on the internet that we do not share, though I do enjoy the real life manifestation of the hobby, which we do as a family a few times a year. I am very interested in playing and listening to and dancing to and writing about a genre of music that he does not like, so our time is very separate.
He comes from a verbally abusive family. His parents split up when his dad took up with his secretary, after a nine year affair. His mom totally lost it, and the kids that were still at home lost all respect for her. He was 16 at the time. I imagine he's still very angry, and feels a need to control his home environment.
On a recent get-together with his family, he browbeat our child so constantly that his sister intervened, pointing out that this was his only interaction with the child. She asked my permission before speaking with him, and after she spoke with him he insisted we leave and would not talk to me about why he was so upset with his sister.
My own family history includes my father dying when I was 6. We were very close, but he did spank me when I did something that was dangerous. My mother remarried when I was 11 and divorced after two years. Like my husband, my stepfather was very bright and could not stand my limitations as a child, which have continued into adulthood (i.e. messiness, having no sense of time). I was not privy to my mother’s relationship problems with this man, so I don’t know why they split.
We do however have a very hot sex life. Darn it.
But I am tired of feeling constant stress. My health is suffering. Our child could use some time when she doesn't have to worry about being yelled at over minor infractions. I've been yelling at her, too, lately about household messiness. Which is rich, coming from me--but I just get worn down.
We live in California, in comfortable circumstances. He works, I don't. As I see it, my options are:
1) to attempt to drag him into counseling with me, which I've tried but he fights
2) to separate, but I don't know what my rights are. Can I just ask him to leave the house and stay with our child? Do she and I have to go live in an apartment, and if so how would we pay for it?
3) to do nothing
I would welcome feedback from anyone who has been on any side of a similar situation, husband, wife or kid, or lawyer, or family member, or friend. This inertia is killing me, and my kid, and my friends. Help!