How can I make DH see that he always makes me the 3rd wheel when it comes to plans?
May 17, 2011 11:33 AM   Subscribe

How can I get DH to realize stop making plans without me, esp. vacation?

This has always been a huge problem for us since day one. He makes plans with others, then tells me "oh we're doing xyz this weekend." It has evolved into me less being bugged by a weekend plan but I haven't changed being upset that he plans vacations with others when it was supposed to be OUR vacation. Unless it's a 4 day vacation or less, he just won't have one with me (and now our son). It's insulting, rude, and makes me totally feel like a 3rd wheel on OUR vacation.

He did this for our wedding. Eight friends, all week was friends, friends, friends. He used the excuse that we were busy with wedding plans so he really needed to connect with these people. Untrue. I PLANNED/booked everything, we had two things to do that took up an hour out of a week of his time.

Second return trip. He got a settlement and immediately called up the same people and planned a return trip. It wasn't "hey I was thinking we can use the money to go on a trip. How about a group trip, what do you think?" Nope. It was me being notified that he called the 8 people and we're going on these dates. I told him flat out that my wedding trip there was horrible becasue I was a 3rd wheel at OUR wedding. He finally threw me a bone and we had TWO out of 14 days alone and that was for 1/2 day each. Oh goody. I got a bone thrown at me.

Next trips--he went with friends alone/met them out where he was going. I was home pregnant, didn't want to go. One was a bachelor party so a preggo wasn't going anyway.

Last year's trip. Budget was tight and marriage was on the rocks. So he said we could go stay with his friend out there. We had again, ONE day alone (Hollywood tour), the rest? He hooked up with friends. One of the days he told me he had his vendor asking him to meet a client so I was alone for 2 hours (I still think that story was fishy).

Now this year we both agreed we deserve a 'real' vacation after the stress we've been on. At first he was going to go on a dive trip by himself but seeing our budget was limited and it was his trip OR a together trip, he chose a vacation with me and our child.

The next thing I know he tells me his friend, his girlfriend, and their daughter and then his other friend are now going on the trip. They 'happened to invite themself." I have NOTHING in common with these people. Oh and he said pay for our nanny to watch our kid. What for? He's going to be hanging with his friends. I'll be with the kid or alone.

Well after much expected, heavy friend drama, he agreed to cancel the trip with them (thank god). So we agreed me, him, our son, and the nanny (now she has a point) and we are going 10 days split trip to Vegas and then Napa.

And within 20 min he goes "well you can say no but how about if I ask so and so to meet us out there for one day." I knew it was an ending battle so I said fine, ONE day.

I come home yesterday and he's on the phone with him telling him "oh yea I'll give you our entire itinerary and you pick the dates." (note plural) now he's going to Napa with us.

This whole "gotta go with friends" thing every single f'in time is a big WTF with me. He says he likes my company---I'm not seeing it if people have to go with on every single vacation. He says he wants to have fun as a family. How? We have three others with us all the time? And when we are not on vacation but say on our way out to meet up friends (or even at home) he's on his Blackberry looking at Facebook, emailing, texting people.

I'm sick of being a third wheel. I'm sick of every single vacation for the last 10 years is with everyone. I thought with a family he would stop this unless it's say a Disney trip with another family couple.

And now the addition of his Blackberry is a breaking point for me. I'm alone whether we're on vacation, in the car, etc. WHY do I even have to go with/be in his life with these non stop distractions?

He sees it as he's just talking. Well every discussion he has equates people coming with. He said he doesn't have to talk first with me. That's stupid. He can tell people no later. Well he doens't tell them no. It's me who has to deal.

We had a big blow out yesterday over this because he just plainly doens't understand that this whole 'make plans with others first' is so hurtful and makes me feel like my entire point in this relationship is to pay the bills or to be an accessory. It's not like WE are having a good time with others. He's out with them and I'm tagging along (even if I do join in the conversation).
posted by stormpooper to Human Relations (92 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried marriage counseling?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:36 AM on May 17, 2011

I love being with my friends and I would go on every vacation with them every time if I could. But my husband doesn't like them so I don't. I do lots of trips without him and do whatever I want. But if it was supposed to be a family trip then it would be a family trip.

Definitely sounds like an issue for therapy.
posted by dawkins_7 at 11:40 AM on May 17, 2011

Have you sat down and had this conversation with him when it's not a pressing issue? You're not planning a vacation, it hasn't already happened, nothing like that, but have you said "I want to go on a vacation with just our family, and nobody else. I want to know right now if it is ok with you that our next vacation be just the 3 of us." If it is, then make that an Official Agreement: next vacation is just the 3 of you. Maybe ask him to get it in writing, so that later, you can say "you agreed to this, what changed?" If it isn't, then you can deal with that from there.

But I agree with marriage counseling, it sounds like there's something weird going on -- he doesn't appear to be comfortable spending time with you. You might want to work on figuring out why.
posted by brainmouse at 11:40 AM on May 17, 2011

*sigh* Sounds like vacation planning is the least of your troubles. I agree that marriage counseling is needed, necessary. It falls on your to stop being treated like that, whatever you need to do in order to make this happen.
posted by Danf at 11:41 AM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

What would happen if you refused to go on these vacations, and kept your child at home?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I almost have to wonder if you should print out just the original question text and show it to him. I get the impression that he doesn't think that he's hurting you at all.
posted by Citrus at 11:47 AM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: We are in marriage therapy since Nov. He's dense or not listening.

@Room--why I stay home for a lot of the trips he goes on.

@Citrus, I've said it to him over and over even in therapy. Therapist has repeated it. See the he's dense or not listening.

Honestly I think his ADHD and narcisstic personality is ruining things. But that's just my bitter opinion right now.

In certain instances, esp since a lot of friends have kids our son's age, perhaps yea I can evolve into friends w/ family vacations (kids playing together). But you know, this time? Where none of the options involved kids and it was ALL about activities he wanted w/ these friends? I was "f" that. So what? Me and the nanny are going to watch our kid? Why the hell would I pay for her way/hotel then if I'm lagging behind.

He says he loves his time with me but you know, between friend only vacations or 24/7 Blackberry, Facebook, emailing, texting, it's screaming the opposite. And what bugs me is I hear "I'm working". Sorry I know what a FB screen looks like and dummy, your posts have time stamps.
posted by stormpooper at 11:53 AM on May 17, 2011

What do you like in this relationship? Does your partner do things to show that he cares for you at other times? On the vacation where he went to "meet a client", what do you suspect really happened? Cheating? Drugs? Drinking?
posted by Frowner at 11:53 AM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Don't know where you live, but it sounds as though your husband is constantly trying to engineer big group trips to California and/or Vegas?

If you were one of my girlfriends, I would gently suggest that maybe there is someone in particular that he is trying to "accidentally" cross paths with on these trips.

Barring that, it sounds like your husband sees himself as having two lives: his Social Life, and his Married/Family Life. He seems to feel like the two are not commingled, and therefore when he's in Family Life, he must stay connected to all the fun he's missing with his pals who are over in Social Life.

Therapy would help you two resolve the fact that he seems to feel like his wife and son are a chore that needs to be escaped.

You might also try actually putting your foot down. Not "I knew it was an ending battle so I said fine, ONE day." When he says, "Well, you can say no, but about..."

...just say no.
posted by pineapple at 11:54 AM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

In that case, it just sounds to me like he doesn't care. He knows it's not what you want, it has been said to him explicitly. He knows it's not making you happy. He doesn't care what makes you happy. Are you OK with that? I'm curious about your answer to Frowner's first question -- what's GOOD about this relationship? Why are you still in it?
posted by brainmouse at 11:55 AM on May 17, 2011 [10 favorites]

It sounds like the real issue is his lack of involvement with you and, now, your son. And if therapy isn't getting through to him on that front I'm not sure what else might work. :(
posted by 6550 at 11:58 AM on May 17, 2011

How can I get DH to realize stop making plans without me, esp. vacation?

Given your litany of things tried, I would guess that you can't.

An ultimatum might work in the short run, but if he's this attached to seeing his friends at every opportunity it will just lead to resentment later.

If you still want to make this work, the biggest step I would take is to ban (and I mean BAN) friends entirely from family vacations while still leaving him free to visit them separately.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:59 AM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

he's dense or not listening.

No, it's an endurance game. He figures that one day, you'll just stop asking.
posted by hermitosis at 12:00 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @Frowner, we were at our lowest point in our marriage w/ nearly every day fighting. It IS possible he went to this client since his vendor is in NV. But I also think it's odd that he goes on our vacation, out of the blue, as a favor to his vendor? I don't know, seemed fishy. I think possibly cheating. Drugs--he only 4:20s that I know of. His friendis a doc if he wanted scripts. In the past I caught him emailing escorts, FBing people out of the blue saying "I'm married but you have pretty eyes." (Who the hell says that?) So at the time, nothing surprised me.

Yes he has at times shown me he cares but then other things makes it feel like it's wiped out. When I went to the ER and was there for 6 hours, I called him when he was in walking distance. He said he was going to call me back and I assumed that meant call and then come to visit, even for 10 min. Nope. He stayed at his client, ate lunch, etc. so he can watch their livestock. Note, he had another employee. He couldn't say "dude, I'll be back in 10 min". Nope. Sat there on the gurny for 6 hours. Checked in and out myself. Never felt so alone. Oh wait, when I didn't feel my baby move and drove myself to the hospital while he watched kickoff of football on tv, that came pretty alone too.
posted by stormpooper at 12:00 PM on May 17, 2011

roomthreeseventeen: "What would happen if you refused to go on these vacations, and kept your child at home?"

This sounds like something he'd be just fine with sadly. I'd reverse it and say that you should go on a vacation with YOUR friends and leave your husband and child at home for some quality bonding time.
posted by victoriab at 12:01 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

I thought with a family he would stop this

Yikes. Children invariably exacerbate pre-existing relationship problems instead of solving them...

Peeking at previous questions, I gotta think it's time to bail. There're drug (marijuana) issues (in front of the kid? He doesn't care about family, sorry) here too? Lots of counselling in the past, divorce threats aplenty. E-mailing prostitutes!

What do you want from this dude? He seems to've made pretty clear what and who he is. I think you're way past the point where it's healthy to keep a child in a relationship like this and you want to make a clean break as soon as possible. He's not into you, he's not into the relationship, he's not into the kid. You will be much, much happier dropping the facade that there's a working relationship here.
posted by kmennie at 12:05 PM on May 17, 2011 [17 favorites]

In the past I caught him emailing escorts, FBing people out of the blue saying "I'm married but you have pretty eyes." (Who the hell says that?)

Take you and your child out of this situation, because this is not the example you want to set for a healthy adult relationship. And this isn't your fault--totally his.

(Who the hell says that? Cheating uncommitted dipshits, that's who.)
posted by infinitewindow at 12:09 PM on May 17, 2011 [21 favorites]

He sounds like he wants his cake and eat it too. But the problem is, he's in a relationship, and he's ignoring that, and doesn't seem to care about it.

As long as you keep accepting it, it'll go on. sounds like he has no interest in saving things or changing his ways, so do what is best for you and get out.
posted by rich at 12:12 PM on May 17, 2011

You've been contemplating divorce since your first AskMeFi the better part of 2 years ago, so I'm guessing things have been ugly for much longer than that. I don't say this lightly: follow through already.

Your husband is treating you like dirt because you're letting him. Stop.
posted by jon1270 at 12:14 PM on May 17, 2011 [57 favorites]

I don't know if your problem is solveable but I must tell you that I complete sympathize. That would drive me insane. I am surprised that you've put up with it for so long.

You've let him know that this bothers you and he does not care.

Stormpooper, I don't think he is treating you the way you deserve to be treated. I don't think you believe you deserve treated this way. The vacation thing is the symptom of some bigger problems.
posted by amicamentis at 12:15 PM on May 17, 2011

DH == Dead Horse. Stop beating it. You're miserable, he doesn't care and you have a child who needs you. Get out and get help.
posted by tommasz at 12:17 PM on May 17, 2011 [20 favorites]

It's possible to forgive almost anything -- if someone shows that they have enduring love, respect, and compassion for you.

The picture you're painting is of someone who would rather focus his attention on practically anyone else than you. That is humiliating, isolating, and infuriating. And it sounds like the words "husband" and "wife" do not carry equal importance in his mind.

It's not your fault, some men miss the part of their training where they learn that women's thoughts, feelings, and experiences are just as important as their own.

Your expectations of a partner should be set higher than this. If he can't meet them, someone else can.
posted by hermitosis at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm just going to reiterate, now that there's more evidence:

He doesn't care:

a) if you are happy with your vacations (knows you are not, continues to do the things that he knows make you unhappy)
b) if you are happy at home (ignores you in favor of work/texting/facebook, despite knowing this makes you unhappy)
c) if you are the only person he has sex/sexual conversations with (emails escorts and strangers in a sexual way -- at the very least)
d) about your health and well-being (did not show interest when you were in the hospital)
e) about the health and well-being of your fetus (did not show interest when fetus' viability was at stake)
f) about the health and well-being of your child (drugs in front of him)

Please go see an individual therapist to figure out how to convince yourself that you and your child deserve better than this, and how to get out. There is nothing good about this relationship. Please leave it.
posted by brainmouse at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2011 [20 favorites]

"How can I make DH see that he always makes me the 3rd wheel when it comes to plans?"

Unfortunately you can't make anyone see anything. All you can do is decide how you'll respond to his behavior.
posted by synchronia at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

He does not care about your feelings.

This is not the same as saying your feelings are not worth caring about.

Separate these two, and you will see what you need to do here.
posted by desjardins at 12:25 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Perhaps its time to pull the plug..... if (when!) he plans another of his all-friends-all-the-time vacations, tell him you and your son will not be going.

Then change the locks & file the divorce papers.
posted by easily confused at 12:26 PM on May 17, 2011

What you need to do--the only thing you can do--is explicitly tell him what you will and won't live with, and then follow through. I suggest you do this during your next therapy appointment.

"I love you, I want to make this work, but I cannot live with XYZ behavior. You know that I can't live with it but you aren't changing your behavior, so we are at a crossroads."
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:26 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agree that if he hasn't changed by now, he's not inclined to change anytime in the future. He doesn't have any incentive to - you give in (most of the time) and the only consequence is he has to sometimes break plans.

And, FWIW I think he knows that he's making you a third wheel and he just doesn't care. It's all getting through, he just doesn't care. In my book that's when it's time to DTMF. You deserve better than this.

You deserve someone who respects you - and his behavior tells me loud and clear that he does not respect you - and someone who wants to be with you on a vacation, not have you at his beck and call and his friends.

posted by Leezie at 12:28 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your husband is a user and a fool.

He should be single.
posted by General Tonic at 12:29 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

I never thought I'd say this in an ask.mefi, but it's time to woman up & leave. He doesn't care, he isn't ever going to care and he makes you deperately unhappy. Find your own therapist, get yourself a lawyer and get out.

Are you using condoms when you have sex? If he's emailing prostitutes & looking for hookups then you're at risk for STDs. Seriously consider getting yourself tested ASAP.
posted by pharm at 12:30 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sometimes it's hard to see where you are from where you are. If your best friend had your askme history, what would you tell her?

It's like you're in a car: the wheels started coming off ten miles back; the doors are gone; smoke is pouring out from under the hood; flames are leaping from the exhaust pipe. And you're here asking us how to fix the windshield wipers.

You would have to be one of the worst people on the planet to deserve the treatment you get from him, and based on your other contributions to this site, I'm pretty sure you're not one of the worst people in the world. You don't deserve to be treated this way. Your child certainly doesn't deserve to be subjected to this kind of thing. How long will you wait? Until the kid is old enough to see and learn from his dad, who doesn't treat his mom with any respect? Or that his mom doesn't respect herself (and her child) enough to get out?
posted by rtha at 12:31 PM on May 17, 2011 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify, he does NOT use drugs in front of our son. His 4:20 habit is in the garage after our child goes to bed. Not making excuses, telling facts.

And I'm not saying any of you are wrong. The bottom line is I fear the narcassitic behavior. Divorce = dragging it out, fighting, court, drama, etc. at the cost of our son. He's used our son as an excuse/pawn with a lot of things in his short life. Others have seen it. A divorce scares me that his manipulation, etc. will hurt our son more. I've stayed to protect our son because it's eaiser for me to stay home, him to go out, and me and our kiddo have fun. At least in a marriage, DH is happy, no one is hearing manipulative things, kid winds up being ok (probably reason why the kid is overly 'mamma').

Again, I'm not saying this is right. But I truly fear what kind of bs he will throw in the next 18 years with this kid. He's very much on the "it's everyone else" train. His family doesn't talk with him so any drama that ensues, he winds up calling those who do (distant relatives/grandparents) to boo hoo "oh do you know what they did to me?" I do not want that b.s. for our son. I don't want our son to hear "your mom is unstable" from him or through the grapevine. He threw the 'unstable' thing at me yesterday because of me protesting on how this vacation/his lack of consideration is going down. I'm on Prozac and now every protest is met with "wow. You need your meds adjusted." or now "wow, you are unstable." Right in front of our son (who was telling us to stop yelling; broke my heart).

And to me, that was the blow. If a man who is "changing" calls me unstable. What's next? The lash out of "no one will want you because you are not only on Prozac but you can barely have kids."


And I am on the stupid Prozac (which is working) for PMDD, PDD, and his insistance when I was ready to file the first time 6 months ago.

Now because I'm back to telling him I'm fed up and want out, he's back to saying I'm mentally unstable. And all of that talk brings up that I am flat out intimidated of him in a divorce process. He fights to win. Not to do what is right, peaceful, and in the best interest of our son.
posted by stormpooper at 12:41 PM on May 17, 2011

Get a lawyer first, then leave. Protecting your interests is what they are for.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:44 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Every single thing you just said in your update is why a divorce needs to happen now before your child is a second older.

Lawyer. Be a good mom. Your child will be upset but it is nothing compared to being in a family with these dynamics. Show your child how people should be treated.
posted by amicamentis at 12:46 PM on May 17, 2011 [21 favorites]

In the past I caught him emailing escorts,

Okay, that's a warning sign.

FBing people out of the blue saying "I'm married but you have pretty eyes."

Uhhh.... You need to know that you are a lot further down the rabbit hole than you believe you are. I don't know if it was a slow descent, but by the time you're reading that and thinking that he *might* be cheating your perspective has been dangerously compromised.

If your child stays in this situation there's a good chance that he will grow up to be just like his dear old dad. If you're not going to resolve this situation for your own sake, how about doing it for your son (and for the woman he's going to be putting through this same rigmarole in thirty years)?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]

He's used our son as an excuse/pawn with a lot of things in his short life. Others have seen it. A divorce scares me that his manipulation, etc. will hurt our son more.

A divorce will probably be awful, yes. It will probably also be awful for your son. But you know what? Staying will be worse. Your son will get it every single day for his entire childhood. He will see you yelling in front of him. And he will know that his mother knew about it, was able to leave, and chose not to take him out of that situation. Chose not to protect herself or him. This is not the behavior you want to be modeling for your son. It will get worse. Find a lawyer, today, and figure out how to protect yourself.
posted by brainmouse at 12:48 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]

So you're married to an abusive f**K. And you're acting the way abused people act. I'm sorry, but there's no answer that will help you that doesn't boil down to 'get help and get out.'

Your rationalizations for staying make no sense. Your son is learning much worse things by watching the abuse continue than he would by seeing you stand up for yourself. Your fear is keeping you from thinking straight, which is why you need help. Go get it.
posted by jon1270 at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2011 [28 favorites]

At least in a marriage, DH is happy, no one is hearing manipulative things, kid winds up being ok (probably reason why the kid is overly 'mamma').


Manipulative behavior: you're soaking in it!

If you're staying in this out of fear of what he'd do to you and your kid in a divorce*, then the only way to keep your sanity is for the love of god stop thinking of him as your DH. Stop thinking of this as some small variation on a "normal" relationship. Stop trying to change his behavior to make him act like a loving husband. He's willing and happy to repeatedly demonstrate that that is not how he sees himself or your relationship, so quit making yourself crazy.

*When I was 10 and my parents had been divorced for about seven years, my dad went all wiggy and started telling people who knew him and my mom that my mom was a heroin addict and he was going to keep me when I went to visit that summer, and sue for custody. We fled the country, no kidding. I had no contact with my dad for about five years, at which point he seemed to have regained his sanity.
posted by rtha at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Have a few lawyers in mind. One wanted me to agree to the therapy so he can see the ligth and then peacefully mediate.

I dont' think mediation is in his interest.

So I don't know how to get through this quickly, least expensive, and w/out any harm to our son. Honestly, take 1/2m y 401k, give me the house (can't sell it, 401k worth more), schedule for our son same as it is now, I'll pay for medical, he pays for daycare. Take more than 1/2 the furniture because hell I just don't care and boom, we're done.

He, however, as said he wants the house, 401k, maintenance, and full custody and will do anything to get the later *thus the whole unstable thing*

I don't need this shit during and after marriage. I just don't know how to stop him and make this done in a month (I know, unreasonable but seriously, I can't take more than a month of his antics).
posted by stormpooper at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2011

You've taken several years of his antics, and if you do not get divorced, you will be taking much more than another month of them.

Speak to several of the lawyers, ask them what the likely results would be given this story.
posted by jeather at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2011

I don't need this shit during and after marriage. I just don't know how to stop him and make this done in a month (I know, unreasonable but seriously, I can't take more than a month of his antics).

But you're willing to take it the rest of your life? It isn't like this is going to suddenly end one day.

Pull the pin on the life grenade and get on with it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:53 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lawyer. you're letting the abusive, manipulative person scare you into thinking he's got the upper hand, and he doesn't.

Get a lawyer, document everything and do it already.

your kid will go through some pain, but they are resilient. Better now than the kid being completely messed up in 15 years. Because if things stay like this, he will be.

I might even argue no custody for him. Use the 420 usage, and he shouldn't be able to fight custody.

It's not your battle to fight for what you end up getting. It's your lawyer's. Get a good one that will skin him.
posted by rich at 12:54 PM on May 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

Please, please, please divorce him. I don't often chime in on questions like this but reading this makes me feel so bad for you. This is NOT a healthy situation for you or your son, and this is NOT a marriage you should stay in.
posted by warble at 12:57 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Right in front of our son (who was telling us to stop yelling; broke my heart)

Staying with him = dragging it out.

Divorce = protecting your child.

No matter what you do, your son is going to have to deal with some unpleasant things. But if you get a divorce, you can raise your son in a warm, loving environment. If you say, you're going to subject your child to more yelling, more scenes, more fear, possibly more violence.

He may try to get full custody, but just "being on Prozac" won't be enough.

Find a divorce lawyer. A good one. A shark. (Because you're husband will.) Don't worry about the house, the savings, the furniture. Pack the things that are important to you and your son in the car, and just go. This week. Take two or three days and make the plans you can. Perhaps even empty your 401K if it's solely in your name and you need the money to make a new start. Find a new daycare and a new place to live, and move. Before this weekend. Just go. Do it. Go.

In the short term, it will be very hard. But in the longer term it will be so much healthier for you and your child.

Do it. Be brave for your son. Do it. This week. Go.
posted by anastasiav at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]

I am flat out intimidated of him in a divorce process.

So find an attorney who isn't.

Your husband wants everything and is threatening to say you're mentally unstable. OK. Your husband can want whatever he wants and say whatever he wants. That isn't what will decide the outcome of your divorce. Abusers often threaten their wives with things like your husband is threatening--"I'll expose how unstable you are," "No one will take you seriously," "I'll get full custody," etc. It's a scare tactic, not an effective legal strategy.

Consider calling an organization that works with abused women and asking if they can recommend an attorney. You need a lawyer who understands that your husband is unstable, angry, and a bad candidate for mediation.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:03 PM on May 17, 2011 [16 favorites]

Hm, my mother was diagnosed bipolar and got full custody of me even after a suicide attempt. My father was the very picture of stability, no drug use, perfect health, no mental disorders, and still lost his custody battle. Granted, this was in the 1980s and things were totally slanted towards mothers, but I don't think his accusations of "instability" should scare you one bit. However, IANAL, so you should get one.
posted by desjardins at 1:08 PM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: @anastasiav the law calls that kidnapping. I cannot do that. I'm not arguing with you about the reasons why/common sense. But I cannot/will not kidnap my child and start a horrible court process. I dont' want to give him any ammunition.
posted by stormpooper at 1:08 PM on May 17, 2011

Your dope-smoking husband is threatening you about your legal Prozac prescription? Honey, no. Lawyer up. Five years from now, you'll be so glad you did.
posted by cyndigo at 1:08 PM on May 17, 2011 [10 favorites]

I wrote...
Pull the pin on the life grenade and get on with it.

To be less glib: every decision you have in front of you sucks. Every option you can pursue sucks. The simple fact is that you have a mountain of suck in front of you that you are going to have to climb over no matter what you do. You are fighting a war here between a false husband and your own inability to make the move.

All I can really give you is advice common to soldiers everywhere: Embrace The Suck.

Get in there for the long fight and get the divorce that you deserve. And honestly you may find it surprisingly easy. Once you stand up to him he is likely to lose interest and move on to one of the many women he already has lined up. The fact that he doesn't care about you goes two ways...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:09 PM on May 17, 2011 [13 favorites]

Go, find a good lawyer, sooner than later. Kids are smart in good ways and bad ways. You can't hide everything about the way he treats you from your kid, and your kid will learn from both you, and will learn to model relationships on this facade and the bits of reality that peek through. You aren't protecting your child from the crazy, you are teaching them that it's okay.

It's a common tactic of abusers to say they will get everything to keep you there. I know, I stayed 4 years longer than I should have because I was terrified that my ex was right. He wasn't. You need to get out. I didn't know that I deserved better until I jumped off the terrifying cliff and discovered that I was worth more. You are worth more. I promise. It gets so much easier when you aren't in the middle of that crazy.
posted by Zophi at 1:11 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

the law calls that kidnapping. I cannot do that. I'm not arguing with you about the reasons why/common sense. But I cannot/will not kidnap my child and start a horrible court process. I don't want to give him any ammunition.

No, the law only calls that kidnapping if you deny him access to your child, which I am not advising that you do.

Talk to an attorney, a good one. But you need to leave this relationship. Now. This week. Leaving an abuser is not "giving him ammunition." It's protecting yourself and your child.
posted by anastasiav at 1:13 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can handle the divorce, you know. I know it sounds like I'm adding yet another burden onto your list of burdens when you're overwhelmed, and I'm sorry if I've made you feel that way. I just wanted you to know that I think you can divorce him and come out on top. I've been reading your questions for the last two years and I've kept you in my thoughts since then. He's telling you you're unstable and weak, but you aren't. You are an amazingly strong person. I can't imagine trying to take care of as many people, dealing with as much heartbreak as you have, and still managing to soldier on and be positive. You and your son deserve to have a peaceful, happy, loving home and you can absolutely get that for yourselves.

Even though the divorce process will be tough, you will know how to handle it. You'll know how to handle him, because you've been handling him for years. Find a great lawyer, follow his advice and the advice of the wise people in this thread, and eventually you will be through. It will be painful and terrifying, but at the end it will be one of the most worthwhile things you've ever done for yourself and your family.
posted by millions of peaches at 1:14 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

I know, unreasonable but seriously, I can't take more than a month of his antics.

So plan to leave this week. Talk to a lawyer, work out what you have to do (don't write it down anywhere it's likely to be found obviously) and work out exactly how soon you can be out of the house.

As others have said, consider that your husband may react badly: it may be safer for you and your child to leave to a location he is unaware of & channel all communication through your lawyer.
posted by pharm at 1:16 PM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: Quick offsides question, can one use their 401k to fund the lawyer/divorce and payout when the split occurs? I have no retainer to give at this point (might be able to ask parents for the initial up front but the final bill, they told me that is on me).
posted by stormpooper at 1:18 PM on May 17, 2011

Is your 401K in your name only, or held jointly?
posted by anastasiav at 1:19 PM on May 17, 2011

Adding: If the 401K is in your name only, you can cash it out at any time and spend it on anything you want. There will be tax consequences for doing this, but that's not your concern right now. (When I cashed mine out they actually withheld the taxes and I ended up with a big refund at the end of the year.) Note that if he's just listed as the beneficiary or some such, then its not joint. If you're contributing through your employer and he's never put money in then its very likely your money to do with as you please.

If the 401K is a joint account (which, if its done through your employer, I'd be very surprised at), then you would need to wait until the settlement to do anything with it.
posted by anastasiav at 1:25 PM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: Anastasiav. 401k is through my work only. He is a beneficiary. That's it.

House---he signed a quit claim during refi

Credit cards and bank accounts--never joint/comingled. Ever.

Lawyers said since I have the money (ha, what money?) and make more, he can ask for maintenance. He may not get it, but he can ask. If I want child support all I really want is for him to pay for his education. I get healthcare through my employer (covering him and the child). The only other issue is he makes squat so in reality, his support will be minimal. Not that I care.
posted by stormpooper at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2011

Start collecting evidence of his possible infidelities (copies of facebook messages, emails etc). Mean behavior that you might now like, but necessary. You hold the cards. You have the job, the 401K, the medical coverage. Prozac does not make you incompetent. Hold that evidence ready, even if you don't want to use it against him, better to have it in your back pocket, no? If you're worried he might fight dirty, then you need to be prepared to fight dirty too. I agree with others who suggest finding a lawyer referral from a women's shelter.
posted by Joh at 1:37 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

401k is through my work only. He is a beneficiary. That's it.

Then yes, you can cash it out and use the money for whatever you want. There will be tax consequences later, but they're not insurmountable.

Lawyers said since I have the money (ha, what money?) and make more, he can ask for maintenance.

He could also ask for a trip to the moon. In reality, it's very unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely) that it will be awarded.

he signed a quit claim during refi

So does this mean the house is held in your name only? Is his name on the deed or the mortgage now?

Lawyers said....

Have you spoken to a Lawyer today? The advice to call an organization that deals with abused women and ask for their recommendation for an attorney is a good one. Also, ask friends or co-workers who are divorced. Did you ever have a friend who complained about what a hard bargain their spouses divorce attorney was driving? That's going to be the person you want.
posted by anastasiav at 1:38 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

You said:

I do not want that b.s. for our son. I don't want our son to hear "your mom is unstable" from him or through the grapevine.

and then in the same paragraph you said:

I'm on Prozac and now every protest is met with "wow. You need your meds adjusted." or now "wow, you are unstable." Right in front of our son

You are avoiding divorce in order to avoid a consequence which is already occurring. You need to divorce this man, and I say this as a staunch defender of marriage. Do it so that your son will learn that the actions of husbands have consequences. If you can't do it for your son, do it for your son's future partner.

Memail me. I have a story that is relevant that is not for public consumption, but it is very very very relevant.
posted by KathrynT at 1:39 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

He makes squat, smokes pot, and has a documented history of flirty Facebook messages? (On preview, Joh beat me to that!) I'm far from being a lawyer, but I dare say there is no way on this here green earth that he'd ever get full custody. Prozac is practically run-of-the-mill, a lot of people have taken similar meds. You're not unstable, dear, you're a human being who's being run down by her husband.

Nthing Speak with a real lawyer ASAP, as others said, preferably one who knows how to handle situations with an abusive partner.

And you probably already know this, but keep it on the down-low for as long as humanly possible. Don't let him get a whiff of you planning for divorce until your lawyer – who will be experienced with this stuff, and so who will let you know when is the best time – OK's it.

Take care. And please do get a divorce, please, for your and your son's sakes.
posted by fraula at 1:42 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

(Did I misread "And the drug use was primarily the rule of "dont' use when our kid is around, even if it's in private". He follows that, I'm fine" here? I could not understand how that would have come up if it was not a problem in the first place)

I'm not arguing with you about the reasons why/common sense

'Common sense' would be saying things very different from what you are saying here. At minimum you should be speaking to an attorney and somewhere that deals in counseling for victims of domestic abuse.

So I don't know how to get through this quickly, least expensive, and w/out any harm to our son.

...the lawyer will spell that out for you. Nth ask for referrals from people who deal with victims of abuse; don't waste your time with the person who thinks mediation would be nice. Find somebody a bit scary in their efficiency, somebody who can front you the confidence you're missing here.

Stop with the marriage counseling stuff, and get it just for yourself. (Get a referral not to somebody who will put you on anti-depressants, but to somebody with experience with domestic abuse)

It is unlikely that this non-Dad is really going to fund an extensive court battle for custody. He may be vindictive enough; who knows. But quite often dudes like this are just huff and puff. If he was a for-real caring father and you were for-real unstable, don't you think he would've already started legal machinations to strip you of custody? The threats probably seem intimidating right now, but -- let a lawyer deal with it. Sell whatever needs to be sold; this is really the sort of thing where it's time to think about ditching your car and taking buses if that's what needs to be done to pay for a lawyer. Do you have unused credit? Ask your parents for the retainer, deal with the rest as it goes; remind yourself that your kid will be happier living in a crummy basement apartment than in the current scenario.

But he really sounds too lazy, too uninvolved, too all-around pathetic to be fearful, and I think you too will feel this way in not too long. You are not painting a picture of a scary dude to outsiders -- this's just a loser who anybody else here would scoff at. I'm sure it doesn't feel that way living with him, but -- pitiful, powerless loser. You have rights.
posted by kmennie at 1:43 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you live in a community property state? In Wisconsin, I own 50% of everything my husband has, like a 401K, even if I've never contributed to it. Conversely, we're responsible for each other's debts as long as they were incurred during the marriage. I am not any sort of lawyer or accountant so please check on this before you spend money that he has a legal right to.
posted by desjardins at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2011

I think you should take Joh's advice to collect evidence of infidelity NOW, before taking more serious steps towards divorce. Your husband may have his guard down if he thinks you've been cowed into not fighting for custody or what you are owed, but if he suspects that you are taking concrete steps to divorce him those emails/facebook messages/photographs will be inaccessible pretty damn quick.

Are you living in a one-party state when it comes to recorded evidence? I would be sorely tempted to hide a voice recorder or camcorder around if you have a fight and he calls you crazy or says he'll call you unstable to get custody. This may be so incredibly illegal though and I strongly advise to you talk to a competent lawyer before doing any of this.
posted by amicamentis at 1:45 PM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: Amicamentis--1 party state.
posted by stormpooper at 1:56 PM on May 17, 2011

Response by poster: Oh sorry, mean 2 party state. Jeeze.
posted by stormpooper at 1:56 PM on May 17, 2011

By the way-- my ex wife blamed our divorce on my taking antidepressants, and she was absolutely correct to do so.

If I was still depressed I never would have gotten it together enough to break free.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:08 PM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]

From what I recall, therapy and mood meds are not really a big deal in a custody situation. It can actually be spun in your favor that you have taken the necessary steps to address your mental health needs and improve the situation. Make sure your lawyer knows this. You can also get your therapist to write a letter addressing the issue of your stability and fitness as a parent, if you know that's going to be positive.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2011

I don't think it's a good idea to be seeking or even accepting any specific legal advice here, because you have an established pattern of looking for reasons to maintain the status quo as a way of avoiding confrontation with your fears. The vagaries and uncertainties that inevitably taint any legal advice you might get here will only feed your fear and rationalization machine. The only serious thing to do here is to start working with a lawyer who can actually tell you what's what.

You make most of the money, control most of the savings and the house. Your husband is a man (still a disadvantage in custody disputes) with little income and a pot habit. You are holding the better hand here. Play it.
posted by jon1270 at 2:13 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't have any concrete advice, but I wanted to say good luck in all this. It sounds like a totally crappy situation. It also sounds like you've realized that a divorce is the right choice, so all that is left is (complicated, exhausting, but surmountable) logistics. I'll be rooting for you.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:13 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'll be rooting for you.

This x1000. Also: DTMFA.

Please let yourself be helped. Let us know what transpires.
posted by wowbobwow at 2:18 PM on May 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

Stormpooper, it's time to pull the trigger.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 2:21 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't know how many Ask Metafilter posts with people telling you pretty much the exact same thing (therapy, collect evidence, talk to a lawyer) you need in order to "believe" us.

Your life sucks right now and nothing you can do will make it better if you stay with him. I know that it seems like your only option is to stay with him, but it isn't. Go talk to a few different divorce attorneys and figure out what steps you need to take to leave him.

Don't be so concerned about his wellbeing. He obviously isn't concerned about yours.
posted by k8t at 2:24 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

I had a friend in a similar marriage - she ended up hospitalised for her mental problems brought on by his emotional abuse. She is happily divorced; life is much easier. And she got full custody and 60% of his paycheque. He tried the mental problems angle too and was laughed at by the lawyers. He tried pursuing full custody but his long history of lack of interest in the children and doing actual parenting was held against him so that he couldn't even get partial custody (he doesn't bother to see children for about half the time he is allowed). She never thought she would be able to endure the pain. Sometimes she was exhausted from just one phone call to the lawyer. But she did, one day after another. And she wouldn't take that time back for anything, because it gave her the life she has now (and admittedly, her life is now awesome).

Reality is, if he has no money your ex-husband won't be able to afford a protracted fight. (Lawyers are pretty savvy at recognising how much the client can afford) And if you have a good lawyer, he will be cut off at the knees (family courts are pretty wise now to the whole emotional abuse via lawyers thing). His request for maintenance when he is capable of supporting himself is not going to happen. Lawyers do have to advise you of the worse case scenarios but that doesn't mean it will happen to you. It sounds like you heard the worse case view and latched onto that as one more reason to stay with the abuse.

Tell your ex-husband that you have a big project at work, suddenly can't go on vacation. That gives you a week (more?) without him to grieve the marriage you had hoped for and put all the steps into place that your lawyer advises you on. I would recommend you not talk to your ex at all that week and when he returns have ALL communication go through a third party (a paralegal at the lawyers office would be the cheaper choice). Have a trusted third party (friend, family) be the one doing the custody exchange at the police station parking lot. Have your lawyer ready with a restraining order if your ex-husband contacts you after you have told not to. Make sure you know the laws exactly and have your lawyer slap him with the restraining order the moment he steps over the line. No weakness, no second chances. You need a strong advocate, I am sure you have a lot of friends/family that have been quietly outraged on your behalf for years - let them vent some of that anger at him while protecting you.

As mentioned above, stop focusing on your ex-husband's needs. If he wants an education he can pay for it himself. If he wants a real relationship with his son he can facilitate it himself. Save your energy for what is important.

Your son needs a stable home; even if he has to endure time with an unstable father he will at least always be able to retreat to a loving, stable home with you. You need to start putting your son's needs above your ex-husband's. Because, sooner or later, someone will, and you don't want to lose custody yourself.

You can do it, stormpooper. We are all rooting for you!
posted by saucysault at 2:32 PM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]

You are the big earner and you're staying? Nononono. I was envisioning this as "here is this poor woman stuck in an awful marriage because she's staying home with her baby and her husband makes a lot of money but she has no career".

Even if he does get maintenance, so what? I assume you're "maintaining" him to a degree right now and you have to put up with his crap.

Get an aggressive lawyer - a sharky woman divorce lawyer would be my suggestion. A friend of mine recently went through a divorce from an awful man. She too was the big earner and property owner. She got her full share of the property - more than she'd expected. He threatened and blustered up until the last minute, but he didn't have a leg to stand on and the lawyer buzz-sawed right through his arguments.

You can do it!

And in a year when all this is over, you'll look back in amazement that you could ever have lived this way.

Do you have friends to stay with? Or can you stay with family? Emotional support would probably help too.
posted by Frowner at 2:33 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Echoing everyone above who is encouraging you to take the steps to leave your husband. He is not treating you or your child as either of you deserves.

This organization in your city provides services, resources, and referrals for women in your situation.

Good luck. You can do it!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:57 PM on May 17, 2011

I have a friend whose husband used exactly the same sort of emotional control. He repeatedly treated her horribly and every time she got upset at his actions, he'd say she was unbalanced, or overreacting, or had anger problems.

I think it worked as long as it did because it was important to her to be viewed as balanced. He finally went too far by posting dating profiles behind her back and she's done with him.

This guy has you buying his worldview and it is so twisted and wrong.

Please put your son and yourself first.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:59 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've said it before here on MeFi, so hopefully other members & mods will forgive me if I say it again. (Squeak Attack's friend could have been me, btw). I was married to an emotionally abusive, thoroughly nasty man. And the divorce was awful - expensive, emotionally draining, debts a plenty, he told lies about me, etc. It sucked jagged rocks. And I would do it a million times over. It was WORTH IT. It will be really unfun but it will be WORTH IT. And you will say, "damn, I coulda done it sooner." Then you will say "damn, I have the rest of my life without this motherfucker in it." And it will be AWESOME.

Much good thoughts to you & your boy.
posted by pointystick at 5:00 PM on May 17, 2011 [12 favorites]

desjardins: "Do you live in a community property state? In Wisconsin, I own 50% of everything my husband has, like a 401K, even if I've never contributed to it. "

You need to call the 401K administrators or your HR folks about this issue. We just cashed out an old work 401K account of my husbands and I had to sign in front of a notary that I was willing to let the money be released...he couldn't access the money without my approval even though it was his 401K.

That said, I agree with what everyone has been telling you. Nothing can be worse than living in a horrible relationship..both for you and your child. You're not protecting him by staying, you're just prolonging the pain that will ultimately happen anyway...better that you choose the time and place than have it chosen for you. Talk to a lawyer ASAP.
posted by victoriab at 5:20 PM on May 17, 2011

A DV hotline I'm assuming would have really good advice about everything, including legal referrals, moving services, and more. Good luck!
posted by salvia at 8:51 PM on May 17, 2011

"no one is hearing manipulative things"

This is one of the reasons you give for delaying or avoiding divorce.

But this is simply not true. Your husband is currently manipulating you and your son.

He is challenging your status as a stable mother, and as your son grows he will believe what he hears most often, and you know what he is hearing now. It breaks your heart to see your son hearing these things, because you know they are not true, and you know that hearing them is bad for him.

Your son deserves to know he has a strong, confident mother. As long as you are weighed down by your husband, that part of you is hidden from your son.

Get out now, so that you can build the kinds of relationships you want your son to have. It's very very hard to break the cycles we learn as children, so give him a leg up.
posted by bilabial at 6:06 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've read your previous questions as well as your responses here. Please find a lawyer with whom you can be upfront about the fact that your husband is emotionally abusive and willing to lie/exaggerate to screw you in divorce. You need a lawyer who will play hardball. Start documenting EVERYTHING your husband does, like his drug habits (listen--no judgment on smoking weed, but the fact is it's illegal), his contacting other women, etc. EVERYTHING. Do not do anything stupid like hack his accounts or snoop in his email or anything, but if you can see it legitimately you need to document it and present it to your lawyer so he can use it as ammo.

Yes the divorce will probably be messy and painful, but it will be worth it for both you and your son. Get out for your son's sake. He does not need to spend another 1, 5, 10 years with daddy screwing up his life by watching him treat you like this.

I'm sorry you're going through this, and I wish you luck in getting out as quickly as you can. Good luck.
posted by asciident at 6:17 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]

Millions of Americans are taking Prozac. I'm not sure how this could be evidence of anything - if anything, you're taking medication prescribed to you, not risking 'instability' by not doing so.
posted by mippy at 6:47 AM on May 18, 2011

Piggybacking off of Mippy's comment--it seems like, on some level, you're ashamed of needing the medication ("stupid Prozac"). Your husband knows that, so he needles you with the "you need your meds adjusted" comments and the threats that he'll tell the judge how "unstable" you are and the insults that "no one will want you" because of the Prozac. I hope you can get to a place, mentally, where you see Prozac as being as morally neutral as any other medically necessary drug. There is no shame in taking it. None. It does not make you seem weak, out of control, irresponsible, or unstable: it shows that you are the opposite of those things. You are acting responsibly to take care of yourself, which allows you to be the best possible mother you can be. You don't need to bother trying to convince your husband of this, but I hope you can believe it yourself.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:46 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I know it's very important to mothers in this situation to believe that their children don't know anything about the abuse, because it never happens right in front of them, except for the times when it does, and so on.

If you feel you need to stay, stay, but please don't lie to yourself or your child that you're protecting them by doing so, or that they aren't experiencing the things that are happening to them.
posted by tel3path at 8:16 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would also ask yourself what your husband has to gain by staying with you.

So far, it looks like he gets:

1. housing, which he would have to relinquish in a divorce since he has no claim to it, is that right?
2. your income
3. there is no third thing

Have I left anything out? Think about it.
posted by tel3path at 8:21 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm very sparing about ever suggesting divorce as an option. But, after reading this comment, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon.

Don't fear the effect of the conflict. Fight and win. When your son grows up, he'll be proud of you for doing what you needed to do to defend him.

Fight. And. Win.
posted by Citrus at 10:34 AM on May 18, 2011

This guy is unwilling or unable to hold down a regular job and support his family, yet you believe him when he tells you he has the means and resources to win against you in court?

Bullshit. He's bullshitting you. He doesn't have the skills or the resources to win against you, and secretly, he knows this. He can only win if he keeps you scared enough that you won't take action. He can't win against you in court, so he's trying to win by preventing you from going to court.

Find a good lawyer to represent you (it doesn't sound like you've found one good enough yet) and get yourself out of this mess.


Umm. I get that you are worn down by this fellow, but you seem to believe all sorts of stuff that isn't even reasonably true. I think you should be on guard for that in yourself, that you latch on to the most hysterical and negative sounding possibility instead of thinking stuff through objectively. You can be your own best advocate by being vigilant against this self-defeating tendency.

I'm sort of wondering what experiences earlier in life left you susceptible to this type of guy. Narcissists and others in the borderline spectrum aren't able to charm, fool, and manipulate everyone they meet. If you are predisposed to falling for their tactics because you had a parent that was similar, for example, well there ya go. It's hard to see through the bullying and see the truth if you've been bullied successfully from a young age.
posted by jbenben at 12:18 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

This sounds like a nightmare to me. I don't know what's up with your husband (you must see his redeeming qualities to not have jumped for divorce already) or why he is punishing his family and/or himself with this crappy behavior, but by the looks of this, you aren't going to change him into a responsible, loving adult and father, and he isn't going to change himself in this environment. At some point you stop helping someone by being a supportive, understanding partner and become an enabler for their poor behavior.

It's entirely possible the best thing you could do for him is to divorce him. It might be the only thing that shocks him enough to take a good look at himself and spur personal growth. But sadly, that potentially good, honest man you see in this selfish child is not meant to be yours.
posted by griselda at 12:33 PM on May 18, 2011

Please do not move out/go stay with someone else: that house is yours & yours alone, it's your home and your son's home --- moving out and leaving him there sounds like a bad idea, something along the lines of "possession is 9/10th of the law." Ask the trusted friends or relatives to come stay with you instead.

Oh, and please stop thinking of him as 'DH' --- for the way he abuses you (and it is abuse!) he deserves a name more like 'shithead.'
posted by easily confused at 1:55 PM on May 18, 2011

Oh, and, reading over my answers and a couple of others, I'm now uncomfortably aware of how this must make you feel accused.

Just to be clear, I know my goal isn't to make you feel accused and I'm sure it's not anybody else's goal. It's just that it's tricky to express our objections to your husband's behaviour in a way that's forceful enough to convey how serious we think it is, and at the same time anticipate the ways in which we might need to spare your feelings.

Look, this guy is accusing you and making you feel like crap every which way, all the time. It's a strain just to put one foot in front of the other. And now we are all yelling at you to change your life completely, which is really hard under the best of conditions. And I'm saying stuff like, all he gets out of his marriage is food and housing; which is intended to point out to you that, far from being a terrifying enemy who will devour you in court, your husband is actually dependent on you for the very resources he would need to win a case, so his threats don't actually stand up to critical examination. But, in saying that, I also smashed you in the face with the implication that, no, your husband isn't married to you because he likes you. I think that that's a fact and you need to face it, and it's obvious to all of us that that fact says everything about your husband and nothing about you. But oh, how it must hurt to have that pointed out to you since, based on your actual question, it's the exact thing that you don't want to face up to.

We're trying to be scathing about your husband, not about you. It hurts us all to hear about the way he treats you and, especially, your son. We want you to defeat this guy in his attempts to exploit you and make you miserable. We believe you can do it.
posted by tel3path at 8:14 AM on May 19, 2011 [19 favorites]

I'm going to add on to what Tel3path said earlier this week.

We KNOW you can do it.

We all know that you are strong enough to leave this guy in your dust. We know that you have a powerful community of support, both here and in your day to day life. We know that your son motivates and inspires you. We know that you love yourself, and that you are an intelligent woman who doesn't, deep down, believe the awful things your husband tells you about yourself.

And so we are nudging you toward action.

I do understand that this is scary. And I do understand the temptation to wonder, if he doesn't love you for your strengths, that maybe nobody else will either.

But. Please, set that temptation aside. Please know, you will be better off without this guy. You will be better than just fine once all of this is said and done. But first, step one is get a lawyer.

You can do this.
posted by bilabial at 12:46 PM on May 20, 2011

« Older What is a good, cheap T-mobile phone with a QWERTY...   |   Broken Droid 6 months ahead of schedule. Help! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.