I need to leave my marriage. Just not yet.
October 20, 2017 11:30 PM   Subscribe

I can’t see myself leaving this marriage for another 4-5 years for financial and parenting reasons. So how do I prepare for it, and live through it now? (Wall of text to follow)

Note: I am not a US citizen, and we don’t live in the US. So legal/ish advice is potentially not going to apply.

My marriage is not good.

We have been together for nearly 20 years and have a teenage daughter. There are two things with this I really want an outside perspective on - the emotional preparation and the practical one. Due to our lifestyles I no longer have any close friends or close family, so I have no-one I can bounce ideas off of or confide with.

When he is lovely, my husband is a lovely man. And I do love him, and appreciate all he has done for me over the years. But more and more often he is difficult - he has depressive and angry moods which often culminate in either days of withdrawing or rages. He is very big on arguing, and will play devil’s advocate just to argue with me. He knows he is better at arguing a point than me - mainly because I am very avoidant and would prefer to avoid conflict. This has set up a pattern in our relationship where it is super hard for me to talk about things that bother me, or hurt me, and often when I try it gets turned against me, to the point where I apologise for making him unhappy. It has gotten to the point where I am continually unhappy and depressed to despair some days, and it is affecting my health.

The latest ‘big’ incident was talking about the #metoo movement, which lead to him saying how hard it was as a white straight male, and then going on to argue about women not speaking out. Admittedly we were drinking, but as I tried to stand up for myself and for women in general I got more and more upset as all he wanted to do was argue the point. I ended up crying and was just sick of it all and he wanted to know why I was so upset. I wouldn’t tell him and apologised for crying and he ended up smashing a glass agains the wall and then smashing his iPhone in anger. The days since I have apologised (which makes me sick inside, but it is almost a Pavlovian reaction, and a way of trying to make things easier) but he has pretty much just stayed quiet and moody. So I go on with life - hiding from our daughter what is going on, acting like things will return to ‘normal’, which it might until the next time. I know this is not healthy, but it is my life.

But leaving is not easy - I have not worked for ten years and going back to a full-time job would be difficult. I am homeschooling our daughter, which means if I left she would have to go to school. Part of the reason we took her out of school is because she is smart but just can not cope with a school system, in terms of executive function and dealing with most people (she has been diagnosed with Aspergers and has other issues). So I would be not only putting my child in a crappy financial situation but also a crappy educational one. She is also a competitive gymnast - she is good and she is dedicated. If I leave I can’t afford classes and competitions. Her father and I put on a good face, and as far as she is concerned she is living in a happy, functioning family. So I am thinking I just hang on for another 4-5 years until she leaves for college. I accept that I will be in a bad financial position if I leave, but I can cope with that for myself, and would get legal representation to get some share of our assets etc. I don’t think it is fair for my child. I know the advice is usually ‘happiness comes first’ but I couldn’t be happy knowing I potentially ruined my child’s life. I spent my teenage life in a home with very little money then living on my own with no financial support and it ruined many chances for me.

But then there are the other emotional issues - I feel I owe my husband. That leaving would be mean, that he doesn’t realise this is such an issue because I just can’t talk about how I feel with him, so it is my fault. Because I haven’t worked for so long (mainly due to his career and then homeschooling) and he has financially supported me all that time without complaint. And I do love him and he loves me, despite all this.

At one previous low point I told him he had to get professional help. He had counselling for a few sessions, but dismissed it as useless (and what he described sounded useless). I also think he thinks he is too smart for counselling. He has also been very anti-counselling for our daughter’s issues in the past. So that is not going to happen. I guess this ramble is - I can’t see myself leaving this marriage for another 4-5 years for financial and parenting reasons. So how do I prepare for it, and live through it now?
posted by thepuppetisasock to Human Relations (26 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure you will be able to hold out for 4-5 years even if that is plan so I suggest you start now doing things that will help build your future, whenever it comes. If you can manage to wait until things are financially easier that's great - you will be better prepared for it when it comes. And if something happens and you realize you need to leave suddenly, you will be more ready than you are now.

Note - I am US based so please adjust accordingly

First, I would suggest that you make a private, confidential appointment to talk to a divorce lawyer just to understand what you are rights are. For example, would it be possible for your husband to support you and your daughter so she can continue to be homeschooled? Even if you can't manage homeschooling, can he be required to support her gymnastics? I have no idea but you seem to assume that you would have to support yourself and your daughter - find out if that is true.

Second, if possible, find a therapist for yourself. You are in a hard place and would help a lot to have someone that you can talk to honestly and openly about what is going on and to help you keep your balance as you navigate a difficult path. You can also start to work understanding how you got on this situation and building up your own inner strength, even if you aren't ready to act on it now.

Third, working on building your own support system. Find a way to reach out and connect with new friends who can give you space where you can feel relaxed, confident and open. Similarly, start pursing some interests outside of your daughter's life - ideally things that might be related to future job skills but more importantly things that will help you feel confident in yourself and your ability to set and accomplish goals that matter to you - maybe running a certain race, creating a art or whatever works for you.

Good luck finding your way forward!!!!!!!!
posted by metahawk at 11:52 PM on October 20, 2017 [8 favorites]

I feel I owe my husband. That leaving would be mean, that he doesn’t realise this is such an issue because I just can’t talk about how I feel with him, so it is my fault.
The most you owe him is to say "I am deeply unhappy in the marriage for these reasons. I realize my behavior may be part of the problem but I can't fix this alone. If you care about the marriage, if you care about my unhappiness we need to talk to a professional about how to fix this relationship" If he rejects that, you have your answer. If he agrees to counseling and then quits after four session because it is stupid, you have your answer. If you are afraid to say this for fear of his temper boiling over, then you have your answer. (and for heaven's sake - DON"T have this conversation if you think it would be too dangerous) If you think he will be angry but not dangerous but hate confrontation too much to say this or you imagine yourself shrinking into a corner in counseling sessions (which seems very likely to me from your post) then get counseling for yourself first, to get strong enough to speak up for what you want and then have the conversation. But you don't owe it to him to stay if he isn't willing to meet you half way.
posted by metahawk at 12:00 AM on October 21, 2017 [11 favorites]

I think you should google a domestic violence hotline immediately.


Then go to clear your history in your browser. (Let us know if you don't know how to do it). You owe it to yourself, and your daughter, to talk to a trained specialist about how healthy (or not) your situation is. It does not sound healthy or safe to me.
posted by karmachameleon at 12:10 AM on October 21, 2017 [32 favorites]

What karmachameleon said, with the knowledge you ARE employable and can move forward.
posted by jbenben at 12:35 AM on October 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

I was more employable and smarter than my ex, and he had me believing I was worthless and a bad parent and owed him everything. I got therapy secretly at first, by paying for Skype therapy online, and eventually mannered to push for a separation. Looking back, I tried to leave multiple times and he carefully sabotaged each attempt, using our children as weapons to keep me bound to him. I deeply regret not leaving earliest because they would have been happier and healthier adults. I'm a better single mom than trying to parent as an abused wife. One of my kids is(hopefully) leaving a very similar abusive relationship she went into as a young adult. My ex thinks her boyfriend is a great guy of course. Watching my kids begin to do relax in a happier house now had been such a gift post separation.

You can leave. It's so hard, it takes planning and preparation and courage. You need to reach out to friends and family and get a therapist. But it will be so worth it.

Save yourself the years of slow drowning. Memail me if you want to talk.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:06 AM on October 21, 2017 [21 favorites]

I wouldn’t tell him and apologised for crying and he ended up smashing a glass against the wall and then smashing his iPhone in anger.

This part jumped out at me. You seem afraid of your husband. And indeed, I would be, too. I would start working on making sure I can get out safely if things get worse. First, can you get back in touch with old friends? family? anyone? Can you start putting away money in a place you can access it if things get even worse than now?

I'd focus on building a Team You. Indeed, I think it would be a good idea to contact a domestic violence hotline to ask about resources / therapists for yourself.

If you talking about serious stuff ends with you apologizing for crying, I would worry that a couples counseling session would end the same way ie. you apologizing for being the bad guy and causing all the problems in your marriage. I'd go to counseling by myself first.
posted by M. at 1:55 AM on October 21, 2017 [10 favorites]

He has you completely isolated and trapped. I would be apologizing too, in your shoes. Anything to keep the peace.

But you are being held hostage by a dangerous man, and keeping your daughter isolated at home with you is just creating higher and higher walls to your prison. It won't kill your daughter to be in a school setting so that you can take positive steps for your financial independence and emotional health, but frankly, keeping her with you as another hostage to his anger and tantrums and violence is teaching her that this is a normal relationship and that could harm her now or in the future.

The best education you can give your daughter is the example of taking charge of your life and saying no to emotional abuse. You think you're sheltering her from his rages and your helplessness but you are not. Believe me. She sees what's going on and she sees you ceding power.

I thought I couldn't leave my husband but I was wrong. The voice that doubted my abilities was his voice, not mine. And the best thing I ever did for my emotional health and self esteem was to remove myself from an environment that every day caused me to doubt myself more and more.

Put your daughter back in school. Get a job. Lie to your husband about how much you earn and keep your pay separate from any account he has access to. You can leave within a few months of finding a job and you will always look back on this time and wish you had left sooner. Life is too short to spend even one minute allowing any person to trap you with fear and threats of violence.
posted by janey47 at 2:22 AM on October 21, 2017 [23 favorites]

Is there a way that you, with your husband's support, could spend the next few months finding a supportive, nurturing private school for your daughter? (While secretly getting your ducks in a row--by talking to a divorce lawyer, by setting up a secret bank account, seeing a therapist..) In the meanwhile, start fishing around for jobs, join a book club, reach out to old friends. Start rebuilding the social and communal ties you'll need to survive on your own. If you really do end up not leaving for four or five years, they'll help you get through the in between times of struggle.
posted by tapir-whorf at 3:25 AM on October 21, 2017

You say that having no money during your youth "ruined many chances" for you. It sounds like in your marriage you have financial security, but it's ruining your chance to have a fulfilling life. This is the ultimate "ruined chance" that you're dealing with.

You might not like the idea of putting your daughter back in school, but I think you should do it anyway. You have to put on your own oxygen mask first here, as AskMe widely advises. Your priority will have to be returning to work. Do what you have to do in order to conceal a majority of your earnings in a secret account that your husband has no access to. Use that financial resource to escape this situation. Follow the advice upthread to delete browser history and be careful as you begin making plans to leave because men like your husband will recognize the signs and become even more angry and violent.

My mother never left my abusive father even though I begged for her to. She said we wouldn't have enough money to live, and I told her I didn't care. I truly meant that, too. You say your daughter doesn't know the truth of your marriage or how you are abused but are you really sure about that? I'd bet she's more aware of your unhappiness than you might think. Please extricate yourself from this nightmare, so that you and your daughter can both have lives of peace and happiness and love.

Women's subjugation has historically depended on our financial dependence on men. Please don't let a man ever put you in this position again.
posted by little mouth at 6:51 AM on October 21, 2017 [15 favorites]

This is not your fault. This is not your fault. You did not let this happen and it's not your fault.

When I left my abuser, I had to learn how to lie. I lied a lot as I extricated myself, and I have now made peace with that. At the time, I felt like I was going against myself and my core values. But I am five years out, and now I see that the lies I told and the ducks that I put in a row as I lied, they helped me get out. They formed a stable base upon which to build my rickety ladder of escape.

I also had plans to wait for quite a while before I extricated myself. About two more years was what I was looking at. But his abuse escalated, and it's interesting that you say that he smashed an iPhone in your most recent bad argument. I remember when mine did the same thing. It was very frightening, both on a visceral level (someone smashing a phone over and over on a table is actually tremendously scary) and on a metaphorical level (a phone connects you to the outside world).

One of our bad big fights was about a woman's right to choose. He wanted it to all be theoretical, but he was also talking about me and my body, and his rights to my body, and what he really thought about my own choices and my own autonomy.

These fights are loud. We had the cops called on us a few times, neighbors complained, breaking a glass and smashing a phone is a lot louder than you might think. Even though you were right there and you probably remember exactly what it sounded like.

One big lie I told my abuser was that I was in a book club. It was actually a domestic violence support group. Please contact your local women's shelter, if you have one. If you don't, I would encourage you to try to find a therapist. You are going to need to lie about where you are going. But my therapist was another very important rung of the ladder.

Your husband is isolating you, and your daughter, and that is very lonely and very scary. Do you do activities with your daughter when you home school? He may not really like this or allow it, but even if you can get out of the house for a few hours every week, you can start developing and building a lie around that that allows you to go to therapy or to go get some other support. And your daughter needs a social network too.

I am so sorry that you're going through this. Being in a similar situation is the worst thing that's ever happened in my life, and all I hope is that other women can get out faster than I did so they can start healing. It's just not right that so many of us suffer this way. Take care of yourself.
posted by sockermom at 7:25 AM on October 21, 2017 [27 favorites]

You're in an abusive relationship.

Don't think you are hiding it from your daughter: your daughter knows, and she wonders why you aren't taking steps to protect yourself and her from your husband's abuse.

Don't ask your husband to get therapy or go to therapy with him. Therapy doesn't change abusers in most cases, it instead gives them more tools to manipulate and abuse you.

You think things aren't that bad and will stay as they are for the next few years. They won't. It will get worse. Violence escalates. Staying with your husband is a life threatening danger to you and your daughter.

Please find a domestic violence center in your area to get support.
posted by medusa at 7:38 AM on October 21, 2017 [16 favorites]

If your best case scenario is walking after four or five years, you still have to deal with the possibility that he may decide to end the marriage himself. Someone as mercurial and controlling as your husband is apt to do that once it dawns on him that you are detaching from him-- and to do it in an emotionally and financially vengeful way. I think you have to balance the danger of tipping your hand with the priority of securing the best possible education for your daughter. That might be through a trust or something, which people do a lot when they have special needs children and you could possibly sell it as "in case something happens to us" or similar.
posted by BibiRose at 7:40 AM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

While the laws and protections available to you in the country you live in may not be the same as the US, you could still see a counselor to reason out your next steps. Your timeline still requires complex planning. You could find a therapist who takes patients via Skype or phone if there are none near you. Call a therapist and tell them all you've told us. You need an advocate who can help you sort out what your real options are vs what your current understanding of them is. Living so long with an abusive person puts you in a different state of mind, tuned for survival. You and your daughter have the right to thrive with happiness. Is therapy an option for you?

You also mention drinking. It sounds like your husband has a drinking problem. You might make some sympathetic friends and get some good advice at an alanon meeting.

If you are afraid to take steps like these because you fear he will escalate, then your situation is very serious. You should research the laws in your country and make a plan immediately.

I'm so incredibly sorry for what you're going through. You can escape it.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I escaped a man much like this and all I can say is it was worth any amount of money and deprivation to be free of him. The damage to your daughter of growing up in an abusive household is far greater than poverty would be. Figure out what social safety nets are available to single mothers with children in your country. Contact your local domestic violence shelter. Contact a lawyer. Make very certain he does not know you are doing this. Once you get a plan together - with real numbers - leaving may not seem insurmountable.
posted by AFABulous at 9:36 AM on October 21, 2017 [11 favorites]

I agree with everyone who says your husband is being abusive. Such people are very adept at making it seem like everything they're doing is perfectly normal and any issues you have are selfish or silly--but when you get away from their reality-warping zone, you realize that their behavior was terrible: selfish, and cruel, and manipulative.

If your husband is screaming at you, breaking things, and then giving you the silent treatment for days after...your daughter already knows something is very wrong. And...I hate to say this, but there is no guarantee he will not turn his anger and manipulativeness against her, especially as she begins to assert her own autonomy in adolescence. What will you do if he begins smashing dishes when she talks back to him? Or worse?
posted by praemunire at 9:40 AM on October 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I would be not only putting my child in a crappy financial situation but also a crappy educational one.

But possibly a far healthier emotional one.

Look, I usually avoid AskMe relationship questions for two reasons, one of which is the inevitable chorus of "Break up! Break up!" responses. (I'll be polite and reserve my comments about that phenomenon and the people who participate in it.) That's the first qualification I'll offer. The second is that I'm a lawyer who works with victims of domestic abuse, and I have close-up experience with many, many situations that are worse than yours, better than yours, and roughly equivalent to yours (nothing is ever "the same," of course).

With those two qualifications, I'll say this: what you're describing is what experts characterize as an abusive relationship. I can't assess your husband based on a few paragraphs of text, so obviously I'm not going to recommend divorce—but in most cases, abuse can't be solved without separation. Maybe you stay married and get back together, or maybe you don't. But you probably need separation.

And you're kidding yourself if you think you're hiding these issues from your teenage daughter—but not just kidding yourself, you're also harming her. These years will form her perspective on relationships, her expectations from them, her understanding of how to behave in them. You're focused on the worst-case scenario of sacrificing her gymnastics, but this situation has much longer-reaching consequences. Forget about whether she'll be able to win a gymnastics meet at 16. Will she be apologizing to her boyfriend as a "Pavlovian reaction" when she's 22? Will she be happily married at 35? When she's 43 with kids, will she be struggling with exactly the same dilemma you're in now?
posted by cribcage at 9:48 AM on October 21, 2017 [31 favorites]

Let me tell you what my experience was like at the women's shelter in Canada.

You can go to the women's shelter to leave your husband permanently, or just to take a break. There is no judgement.

I met with a counselor. They are well suited to work with women that are unemployed. The counselors can help you with spiritual advice, tell you about programs and legal processes in your local jurisdiction, refer you to lawyers, housing, etc. The counselors are familiar with the basic proceedings in the area to get temporary support in place. There may be emergency proceedings to get you a support order within a month. The support order can be written to cover gymnastics. Your husband will be referred to as your abuser. I found the language helped reframe my thinking.

Your daughter would be assessed for signs of abuse. Bear in mind that by witnessing your abuse, your daughter is suffering trauma. Anything that your daughter may have overheard or experienced will be taken seriously. Unfortunately where I was children's services were somewhat lacking and there were other children in the shelter with more severe social problems that took the attention of the workers. However it was helpful for me to get the message just how damaging this situation is to my daughter and that she needs help as a victim of abuse. Maybe those social problems she has are not all attributable to Aspergers, and some are attributable to trauma? You can discuss with the counselors on this point.

I got three square meals a day and overall had a good experience. So, if you just need some respite so that you can think and evaluate your options, see if you and your daughter can get a bed and go just for a few days or a week. You don't have to commit to anything. It's hard. But give it a thought. You are suffering.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:17 AM on October 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

I was coming to say what cribcage said - your daughter knows what's happening, if not the exact details, she knows things are good between you and your husband. You are modeling relationships for her. She is learning what love is by watching you apologize and cower while he either rages or becomes withholding. When she brings home a partner that reminds you of your husband, how will you feel? How will you save her when you did the same? If your daughter wrote this question in the future what would you tell her? Would you tell her to suck it up and get through it or would you be moving heaven and earth to get her out of that situation? You can save her now, but in 4 or 5 years it really might be too late.

I have never met a child of delayed divorce that was happy their parents "stayed together for the kid(s)" and that's regular old shitty relationships. From adult survivors of an abusive childhood home, I have only heard them say they wished their abused parent had left earlier no matter what livelihood that would leave. Your daughter would rather have a non-cowering mother than a few more years of home school and rigorous gymnastics. Don't wait until she's older and asking you why you didn't leave him sooner.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:20 AM on October 21, 2017 [12 favorites]

Don't think you are hiding it from your daughter: your daughter knows.

She does. On a level that she probably shields from you.

Follow the advice of the others upthread and get out of this asap.
posted by Crystal Fox at 10:40 AM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

If your daughter's Asperger's presents itself similarly to mine and my son's, she may be oblivious to the situation, so use your own judgment regarding those comments.

To prepare to leave, you need to think about how you will support yourself. Are you aware of your household's assets and are they protected from your husband doing something insane with them between now and then? What skills can you leverage into work? Is there any work you can begin doing now, either outside of the house (can your daughter be left alone, or can you work evenings when your husband is home) or freelancing? Building work experience and personal savings now will put you way ahead when you leave, and it will give you something to focus your energy on instead of your marriage.

You also need to begin developing your social capital. Find friends, especially friends who aren't married; get actively involved in a church if you believe in God; spend more time with extended family if you have them. This too will both improve your situation when you leave and make the interim more tolerable.

Think about whether you will move to an entirely different place after your divorce, potentially somewhere you have family or social connections you can leverage.
posted by metasarah at 1:19 PM on October 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I think it sounds like you are in a bad place, and possibly not thinking as clearly or as effectively as you might be if you had more support - my mom and I both went through something similar. It gets better!!

So I've heard of this concept of there being 5 pillars of support: work, friends, family, relationships, yourself, faith (?) and you need to be able to lean on all 5.

I think I would suggest for now:
1. Individual therapy - just to get some clarity of thought and to develop a stronger sense of self-sufficiency

2. Education/work - build some career capital! What are your interests? If you like teaching, take courses on teaching so that you can be a substitute teacher in your free time, if you like looking after people you could take courses on being a counselling or becoming a doula/midwife, for example. If you like cooking, you could look into cooking courses and aim to work for a restaraunt. There are ways out, stay hopeful!

3. Build a community - seek communities and family. Call your family, join a book club, join a church - make friends and practise your social skills.

When you are feeling stronger and healthier, you can start planning for financial separation or start making moves to move out of your matrimonial home or alternatively maybe you will think of new ways to repair your marriage. The future can be a hopeful, better place!!

Good luck!! :) If you want to talk more, you can always message me.
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 7:33 PM on October 22, 2017

Thank you everyone for your replies and answers. To clarify - we had both been drinking, and it was his iPhone he broke not mine. But still.
Yesterday he was back to being the ‘nice’ husband I love, and asked what was wrong. I got up the gumption to tell him. A long story short - he doesn’t get it. He wants me to tell him what is wrong but doesn’t hear it. We had a long circular argument that revealed he doesn’t get why I am upset, and while he didn’t use the words ‘it’s your fault because ...’ I don’t tell him what is upsetting me. But when I did, he said he didn’t know what to do because I don’t tell him. To avoid another wall of text - I don’t think he is being mean but I genuinely don’t think he understands or has any self awareness when it comes to this.
I have started getting my house in order, and while I might not be ready to move now I realise this is not going to improve.
posted by thepuppetisasock at 1:30 AM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

He wants me to tell him what is wrong but doesn’t hear it. We had a long circular argument that revealed he doesn’t get why I am upset, and while he didn’t use the words ‘it’s your fault because ...’ I don’t tell him what is upsetting me. But when I did, he said he didn’t know what to do because I don’t tell him.

This is The Classic abuse narrative:

"just tell me whats wrong" (but then I'll just invalidate your response and punish you for doing it)
"just tell me what to do" (but then I'll just turn that into an argument and make you apologize)

The point of this line of approach is control over your emotions and the situation, you're always too afraid/too tired to speak up because you always say "the wrong" thing and your always second guessing yourself because maybe you are just failing to communicate properly to keep the abuser in "good husband" mode. If you stay silent you're in trouble, if you talk you're in trouble. The abuser builds a world in which the victim never wins.

He knows he's doing this, playing dumb is part of the abuse; denying the reality you're clearly witnessing and perceiving leading you to doubt your perceptions.

In healthy relationships your partners doesn't need to "understand" why you are upset to accept/believe that you are, and to help you feel better.
posted by French Fry at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I just want to mention - just in case someone suggests couples therapy or you think it might fix things - couples therapy is absolutely not suggested in cases of abuse. it often worsens the abuse and the gaslighting. He's shown you who he is, you can't mediate this with a professional. Getting counseling for yourself would be a great idea, though.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:01 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Like others have said above, I think getting a therapist for yourself (whether in person or Skype) is a good first step. You need to connect with someone who can fulfill your needs of being heard and valued, as well as being a guide on how to plan for whatever the next step is. I also agree with contacting a domestic violence organization in your area...at the very least they can explain what resources you have and what some of your legal steps need to be (separate bank accounts, etc).

In regards to not working...can you get a part time job at the gymnastics training center your daughter goes to? Not only will it get you some "workplace skills" for when you have to look for a full time job, it provides you with some connections, some income, and is tied to something your daughter is heavily involved in. You may be able to take her with you to work a few hours before her practice time and she can do schoolwork there (since she is homeschooled) or she may be able to help train the younger kids, or otherwise build her own support system in an area that's familiar to her. It also may be something that you can easily explain to the husband without raising too much suspicion if you want to avoid that. Obviously it depends on where she does her gym lessons, but in terms of "OMG how do I financially support myself???" it may be a relatively easy solution that can be overlooked in the complexity of everything. And the gym may love to have a dedicated parent working for them as opposed to a complete stranger.

Whatever happens, please work on getting yourself a therapist and a support system so that you don't feel so isolated and that you can bounce ideas off of.
posted by MultiFaceted at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll gently chime that it's not generally helpful to characterize the abusive person as some kind of calculating villain who "knows he's doing this." First, that's often not true. People exhibit behaviors and repeat cycles often without awareness, let alone understanding. Second, it's not helpful because usually the victims either (1) recognize it's untrue, or (2) refuse to believe it even when it is true, and as a result they discredit whatever other advice was included with the characterization.

It's not important, OP, whether your husband is "playing dumb." Maybe he is or maybe he isn't; we certainly can't know from what little you've posted. But it doesn't matter. The steps you need to take in order to solve the immediate problem don't rely on understanding his emotional state or motives. Those factors may affect the likelihood of repairing the marriage (if you want to) or how you'll do that, but that's down the road.
posted by cribcage at 10:25 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

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