Abusive/addict :..sit down talk...am I being unrealistic?
June 26, 2020 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Hi.Its me and my ? a bit of a silly question this time.Yes ,my husband and I are still separated.We had a discussion 2 days ago, where I came clean and told him why I may take him back.He also stated that my loudness caused 95 percent of the lack of emotional intimacy/ closeness problems ( no mention of the addiction/abuse). Then this evening , someone whom I value greatly said things that make me second guess my decision to leave him... I lost alot of hope ..it feels like one step forward three steps back .

Hi .As stated before , hubby and I r separated for three months now ,( he had agreed to six months apart ). NB. This is a very long post He was verbally abusive throughout the marriage and an active addict..he' s cut down drastically on the verbal stuff ( one of my conditions to him coming back ).

So , I was continuing with my cbt and anxiety meds ...and trying to figure out in which direction to go.I've been leaning towards working on my fears and getting to a point where I'm ready ( emotionally ) to leave .... because that's what i'd like to be strong enough to do.(Not there yet , but at least now the mere thought of living on my own doesn't induce a small panic attack...just makes me feel scared).


He and I had a discussion 2 days ago , where I told him that I feel that it's only fair to him to let him know that , as much as I still love him , if we did get back together it would primarily be for having someone in the house ( despite the love).That made him really sad and I felt terrible about it , but I did not want him to come back home on false pretenses / expectations.I also told him that we weren't emotionally close / great friends, so, since that may never change , that maybe he should consider getting a new/ /younger wife and be happier that way ? As , even though I could improve certain aspects / things that he was not happy with ( as he had agreed to improve his behaviour)....that that was a big issue + I couldn't guarantee that I could talk a bit softer for the rest of the marriage.He stated that 95 percent of why we weren't close was due to my loudness.( He has PTSD for NOISE due to his a abusive upbringing).

That kind of threw me for a six because , yes , he is more introverted / a quieter person , yes... I am loud ( I come from a family of loud talkers) , yes he still has PTSD for noise...but I'm wondering if that was the real reason he always didn't seem to enjoy my company.( The addiction- in turn lack of bedroom activity- verbal abuse is all on him ).He also said that some women bring a man up in life and some women bring a man down....and I brought him down.( That was 2 weeks ago he was upset when he said that )


On an intellectual level , and through my cbt I know that an addict is always responsible for their addiction...I know that.That is on him (and about codependency etc)...but if he had married a more ' conventional 'woman , a more religious woman it may have , in some small way not led him to... idk , just not being where he is today?


His faith is a big part of who he is.I was also depressed for years , and not optimally functional , that didn't help him either.

Even if you are NOT responsible in any way for the addict , you living YOUR best life CAN , in some way , let them find their own light.And the physical abuse stopped years ago.( The few incidents that occured. )

So it's left me wondering what my role / how him being married to me..did not maybe , bring out the best in him as a person? The child said it's b/s ( not using those words exactly ) and child is leaving for University in 2 months so I'll see child maybe once a year at most ( I'm saving up from now for the ticket / fees overseas lols). The other aspect is that , I am from a conservative community ..In which I am even more conservative ( re premarital / live in/ sleeping with a guy etc).My friends from my community did date etc in hs , I didn't want to.Then I'm also against extramarital sex ( but pple do it secretly and I'm open-minded to others doing whatever )it's just not for me. So I twt I may ? marry later if possible to experience that connection/a good partner.( And also work on accepting the living alone possibility. ) This evening I spoke to my sil.We are like sisters and I respect / love her.She is also very independent and more liberal than me.


She said regarding my possibly taking hubby back...' better the devil you know , because now guys ( in our community) just want sex'. I asked her even guys my age ...she said yes...with social media now , they move onto the next one if they don't get it + our guys are all full of shit.( She's also like me , in her forties ....much more toned ( ie more fit ) than me and exceptionally good looking....and a wonderful person ...ie shes a good 'catch.'.

( My mum told me the same thing when I told her I may consider remarriage later....even though she till recently was of the opposite view).Mum loves me but she thinks I'm ' gullible ' and that some other person will take advantage.( I'm a bit more trusting / not cynical but NOT gullible ). NEITHER of them know about the details of our marriage ( but have their suspicions ).They know that I'm not happy....and that he had money issues despite a having good job.

Now that I'm trying ( very hard ) to envision the possibilities of my own life ( alone / new husband somewhere down the line )...I'm wondering what to make of my sils comments regarding the ' dating ' now ' hookup' culture (specific for women MY age ) and if I should not be deluded into thinking that I may have a ( small ) possible future / as opposed an almost zero chance.The fact that sil knows me so well , but also knows my fears , and still said that ( and we are very close , she has always had my back ) makes me think that me being out of the scene for + 20 years leaves me unrealistic.
??
My other question is , as a partner to a long term addict , did you ever wonder if another partner may have in some way been better for ur partner ? Very sorry for the length of the post.
posted by SarahSarah to Human Relations (40 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
He also stated that my loudness caused 95 percent of the lack of emotional intimacy/ closeness problems ( no mention of the addiction/abuse). Then this evening , someone whom I value greatly said things that make me second guess my decision to leave him... I lost alot of hope ..it feels like one step forward three steps back .

He isn't taking any responsibility and even if he were....people don't change. They just don't. And he comes into it blaming you.

I cannot tell you enough how this dude is not worth your time. Your self-doubt is deeply misplaced.

Go on with your life and be happy.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:52 PM on June 26 [55 favorites]


Yeah, an appropriate response if you are too loud(?) is to calmly ask you to lower your volume, and maybe come up with a plan together for what to do if it triggers his PTSD, or something. I am saying this NOT because you should do this, but because emotionally abusing you and blaming you for every problem in your marriage due to you being loud is just not reasonable. This is a silly red herring he is using to further blame all of your issues on you, when he's the abusive one with an addiction.
You are not responsible for picking out a new partner for him. It sounds like you are a nice, empathetic person, but I would spend much more of this energy worrying about yourself. Not all guys are like this. Seconding A Terrible Llama- move on and be happy. Even single you'd be happier than all this, right?
posted by clarinet at 3:59 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


The idea that his addiction might be even partially your fault because you talk too loud is patently ridiculous. He’s trying to deflect and put you off-balance so you feel responsible for his problems and don’t leave him.

As for what your SIL says, I mean, I don’t know your community but I do know that some single people (and many partnered people) in every community I’ve ever been in will say things like that about their target dating group in that community. People still find love in those communities. It’s not really reason to stay in an unhappy relationship.
posted by lunasol at 4:14 PM on June 26 [11 favorites]


Not to treadsit ...he's been asking me to talk softer since we got married...at least twice a day ( we work long hours so that's just when we are home ). I wasn't planning on chosing his wife , just giving him options / trying to tell him in a kinder way that I may not be in his life anymore ( In a more diplomatic way )....I spent the last year losing it and getting really angry at him and that behaviour is not something I'm proud of ( no matter how wrong he was ).My dad ( a gentle soul )raised me better than that and he would have not harmed a fly .
posted by SarahSarah at 4:17 PM on June 26


Don’t do this to yourself.
posted by mhoye at 4:23 PM on June 26 [17 favorites]


One last thing : He said the loudness prevented us from being emotionally close.The other aspect ( Bringing him down and unable to come right in his ways ... was just me , eg my depression / my other unconventional ways, NOT the loudness ).
posted by SarahSarah at 4:23 PM on June 26


I agree with others that he's taking his years of extraordinarily shitty behavior and finding a way to blame YOU, which is totally unfair and shows that he hasn't truly changed. Lose him.

It is true that it is hard for older women to date and that many men want easy sex and are quick to drop people, but, as they say, "not all men." Very few things are universally true about everyone in a specific group. There are still decent people out there and all you need is one. Don't be naive, protect yourself, but don't give into total despair, either.
posted by zeusianfog at 4:31 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


Are you still seeing him and texting with him every day? If so, please give yourself the gift of NOT doing that, even for a week. You deserve space to think through these questions without him constantly making you second guess yourself.

I can't speak to the possibilities of dating at our age. I can speak as the long term partner of someone with an addiction who's been sober for many years: no, I have not spent much time thinking about what other partners he could have had. I don't believe in The One, so sure, I believe that either of us could have fallen in love with different partners. Those people would have been better for us in some ways, worse in others, but who cares? That's not the life we're actually living.

Your brain is wound up and scared and abused and it would love to think about something, anything, other than its current situation. That's very understandable. But thinking about your partner's other past options doesn't help you and isn't your problem. I cannot highly enough recommend deciding not to spend another second on that. If you really want to go down the what-if road, think about YOUR what-ifs. What other choices could YOU have made? How do you feel about them? Are there things about those lives you are wistful for, and could move toward now?

(Also: let's say you are loud and he is extra sensitive to noise. That's a situation you talk about and compromise. It is not an excuse for abuse and it is not your fault, and if someone you loved told you they were being treated this way, I suspect you'd want better for them than to be blamed for their own abuse.)
posted by Stacey at 4:35 PM on June 26 [21 favorites]


If he has been complaining about your volume since you got married, and he has a sound issue due to PTSD, has he tried once to solve the problem on his side? Ear plugs that block partial sound, or looking into how other people in a similar situation deal with noise?

He also said that some women bring a man up in life and some women bring a man down....and I brought him down
Yeah but then I read this bit and the answer is kick that asshole to the curb. No additional evidence necessary.
posted by Glinn at 4:42 PM on June 26 [26 favorites]


You need to leave him for good.

Each time you post about him, you only include more reasons to leave him. He isn't giving you reasons to reconsider, he's gaslighting you.

Please. Listen to all of the good advice you've gotten here. Don't give this guy more space in your head - he's abusing it. He's using that space to make you feel like shit about yourself, to make you feel like you don't deserve or won't find better.

By the way, my mom got remarried in her forties and has been with my stepdad for years now. But if she hadn't, she still would have been better off alone than with an abuser.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:56 PM on June 26 [18 favorites]


Tell your therapist or brain meds provider what you told us, and tell them that you need to make a plan to stay broken up with this guy. His shitty behavior is not your fault but you are having a hard time seeing it because you’ve internalized all his shit.
posted by matildaben at 4:58 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


My other question is , as a partner to a long term addict , did you ever wonder if another partner may have in some way been better for ur partner ?

Short answer, no. But I realized that he was no longer capable of being the best partner for me.

Longer answer: It doesn't matter. Everyone is responsible for their own choices. He chose to be with you, he is continuing to blame you for his issues (this is classic addicted-person behavior, they will throw anything at you, but you can choose to not accept it).

This is also in the past. Even if the answer is yes, what does that do for you? Or him?

I've been there before, and at this point, it's almost impossible to see the bigger picture, and what the future might look like without him. But, you do know what the present and past look like, and it's not a path towards a happy fulfilled life for you. Don't worry about him, he's got his own obligation to figure out what his new future looks like.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 5:02 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


I am extremely (and I do mean extremely) sensitive to noise, probably for the same reason as your husband. My own husband tends to be on the loud side; for example, when he's excited about something, which is fairly often, his voice gets quite loud without his realizing it. The way we handle that is I say, "Hon, you don't have to shout, I'm right here" or "Hon, could you just keep your voice down a bit?" and he says "Oops, sorry," and he lowers his voice and we continue. I do not tell him that I'm going to leave him, or that he's responsible for my various psych issues, or what have you. I'm an adult and that's for me to navigate, with his help.

Please leave this guy. Things aren't going to get any better with him, and they will get worse.
posted by holborne at 5:07 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


There is every possibility that you can find someone who will enjoy your loudness, and appreciate all the parts that make up who you are. Who won't gaslight you into blaming yourself and hating yourself.

It sounds like you're breaking down in the same way that many of us would break down in the face of relentless gaslighting and frustration and misplaced hope. Give the universe a chance to surprise you with something different than this mess. Good luck!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 5:10 PM on June 26 [8 favorites]


Please join Al-Anon. It's a self-help group for the families of alcoholics/addicts. No cost; no commitment. You need to see that he's the addict, he can blame you all he likes but he's the addict.

There are some choices available to you. For the most part they are: let him and the guilt go. Al-Anon will expose you to people who are in/have been in the same situation you're in. The surprise is that no matter the substance of abuse, addicts are surprisingly the same.

If change is to happen for him, it's his responsibility. No one can talk him into it. The problem is not your loudness. You'll see how that's another addict's lie. There are so many addict's lies. You need to hear from others who are or have been in your situation. That's Al-Anon.

I've been an addict so I understand.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:11 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


Check list from last week-
1 Has he ended alcohol addiction or made significant progress in doing so?
Nope he has not made significant progress.
2 verbal abuse?- you say it has gotten better but has it ended for a significant amount of time?
3 emotional intimacy?- is he currently going to individual therapy to work on his issues?

At the very least you should give him and you another three months to see what behaviors you each have as habits by that time.

This is what you need to assess.
What are his current habits and behavior?
Has he made progress towards getting them aligned with a healthy relationship and with being a trustworthy partner?
posted by calgirl at 5:52 PM on June 26


So it's left me wondering what my role / how him being married to me..did not maybe , bring out the best in him as a person?

Sounds like you two should split up.

The child said it's b/s ( not using those words exactly )

Please please please stop involving your child in this. It's really disturbing, the things they're being exposed to. You're used to it so hopefully a third party perspective will help. Your child has been financially exploited by their father with your tacit acceptance and has to hear this kind of intimate relationship information, on top of having witnessed verbal and maybe physical abuse. It's unacceptable.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 6:08 PM on June 26 [32 favorites]


I get the sense that between your questions here (and from reported that you child, friends, and mother have said) that you're looking externally for an answer that will make this next step, staying or going, clear and easy, but that answer doesn't exist. Huge, life-altering changes are never easy. You will feel unsettled by them because the foundations of your life will be actively and literally unsettled, but scary and unsettled feelings don't mean something bad is happening. Babies are born in pain and screaming, and sometimes, new chapters of your life are born like that, too. If you stay with this man, nothing will change, ever. Not only has he been abusive, it sounds like he doesn't even like you.

I grew up with an abusive, addict parent. My mother only left him because he started hitting me instead of just her, but even if he had never been physical, his addiction and behavior would have been scarring. My mom always says leaving my father was like having a broken leg with a cast on it. While you wear the cast, you hate it. It's hot, painful, and upends your life in every way. Then you get the cast off, and you find that inside, your leg is pale and weak. You have to learn to walk again, you leg feels week and fragile, and it's all so hard. It's so hard that sometimes, you even miss that damn cast because at last it was familiar and you could pretend that it was safe. But you can never be healthy and whole until you get the cast off and heal all the way.

Nobody can convince you to leave him, to take that cast off and learn to be whole. His continual gaslighting and blaming are still abuse, and that will never change. The answer you're looking for and the strength to carry it out are already inside of you.

And yes, please please please stop involving your child in this. No matter what you decide, your child deserve a chance at a real, whole, healthy life, and that will never be possible with their father in it. I speak from hard experience here
posted by mostlymartha at 6:41 PM on June 26 [18 favorites]


He also said that some women bring a man up in life and some women bring a man down....and I brought him down

so now it's women's job to "bring men up" as well? has he lifted you up, or dragged you down? It's pretty damn obnoxious to suggest that you have to support him while he takes no responsibility for supporting you. Please look carefully at the things he is telling you, they are all meant to make you feel guilty and destabilized. You really need to take a good chunk of time where you have no contact with him. There is no chance for you to achieve any clarity of thought while he is still constantly pouring this poison into your ear. If there is anything of value in this relationship, it will still be there even if you don't talk to him for 3 months. You are never going to be able to properly see what is bad in this relationship as long as he is still there all the time throwing up a new smokescreen of bullshit every day, and he knows it. You can still ponder all these questions while you have no contact with him, give yourself the chance to sort it out for yourself. You totally have the strength and ability to sort this out for yourself, you just need the space and the peace of mind to do so.

Also, taking some time away from him would give you a wonderful chance to really connect with your kid before they go off to school. I bet they would love some time with their mom that is just about them, and they are not dealing with all your relationship problems.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:00 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


did you ever wonder if another partner may have in some way been better for ur partner ?

Why, yes. Yes I did. Ex had a crush on a mutual acquaintance, a very nice lady who was pretty and smart and kind and gentle (in ways that I thought I was not). After we parted, he got together with her and I did hope that maybe since he was away from me & the things he hated about me, he would flourish.
Within 6 months, she had kicked him to the curb. Because he was still drinking.

Guess what happened with subsequent women (at least 3 I know of)? Same thing. The last time I heard from him, he was single. Again. And yeah, still an addict.

Every day I am glad I got out of that relationship. I am single and so very, very happy and fulfilled.
posted by pointystick at 7:34 PM on June 26 [22 favorites]


If this is less abusive, how he was before must have been truly horrific. Don't get back with this guy.

You do know he'll go right back to how he was before, right? He's doing the minimum possible to scare, gaslight and trick you into taking him back, at which point he'll go right back to what he was like before. Often these guys get even worse, since they feel more secure in their control of their victims. This is the classic cycle of abuse. It's powerful, it works for a reason, but you can know what he's doing and why and get out from under his control.

You aren't separated from him. You're still talking to him, seeing him, spending time with him. You need a solid 6 months of actual separation, as in you are not in any contact with him and you are not giving him all this time in your head and on your mind, before you will actually know anything about what you want to do next. Right now your instincts are all messed up because you've stuck yourself in an awkward in-between place. Embrace not having to deal with any of his nonsense, refuse all contact you are not legally required to maintain, and you will start feeling better and less trapped.
posted by Ahniya at 8:17 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Just to add, as someone who is so sensitive to noise I often can't participate in normal social activities:

His blaming you for his abuse of you is wrong. He needs to man up and make changes in what he does to manage noise if it's really that bad. But I call BS because seriously, if the noise was that bad he'd have changed his own behavior. By using it as a way to insult you he's showing that the noise isn't the issue, you having the self-esteem and self-worth to speak is the 'issue'. It's just abuse.

Blaming you for any of this is just gaslighting and abusive. Everything he has done shows that he hasn't actually changed at all.
posted by Ahniya at 8:22 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why either of you even wants to be with the other. You don't have good sex, you're not emotionally close, you don't even seem to like each other. Why are you doing this? This "devil you know" shit kept me in an unhappy marriage until I was 52. Within two months of my husband moving out I was in a relationship that was heartbreakingly better in every way. I wasted so much of my life out of totally unfounded fear. Please, end this, and go find a man to love you the way you need to be loved.
posted by HotToddy at 8:34 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


Even if you are NOT responsible in any way for the addict , you living YOUR best life CAN , in some way , let them find their own light.

One of the few things that can truly get through to an addict is when their family and friends start to leave them. At the same time, your best life is one in which you are not involved with an addict.

So.... it’s a win-win scenario. You removing yourself from the situation is probably the best thing you can do for both of you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:24 PM on June 26 [12 favorites]


It looks like, right now, you might need mental peace the most.

I agree with past commenters that a real break from your husband would mean stopping all communication for a while. If you think he might get angry about this, you can tell him it's for a short time so you can heal. If he gets angry and you worry for your safety (or frankly, even just to talk about the stuff that already happened) you might want to contact a local women's shelter/ violence hotline for advice not just about safety but also ways to prepare for possible break-up.


Also, I wonder about whether talking to your mom and SIL about your plan to leave is a good idea right now. You mention that after a recent conversation with your SIL you "lost a lot of hope". I wonder why she and your mom seem to think that staying with a verbally abusive man is better than having to start anew. It seems that they do not know the full picture and even if they did - if you told them right now - they might be to close to the other party to be fully supportive. Even though they are "on your side", one of them is your abuser's sibling and the other might be afraid to face the fact that her child is in an abusive marriage, and the guilt associated with that. Could you find some other sources of support?

Your husband seems to think you are wrong for him?

the real reason he always didn't seem to enjoy my company
some women bring a man up in life and some women bring a man down... and I brought him down
if he had married a more 'conventional' woman, a more religious woman it may have, in some small way not led him to... idk, just not being where he is today?
him being married to me... did not maybe, bring out the best in him as a person?


Look, maybe you are not bringing out the best in him. Maybe, had he married a woman with a black belt in martial arts who'd have given him black eye the first time he tried his nonsense, and then held him accountable for any BS while, I don't know, enjoying being with him enough to stay married to someone who needed coaching and consequences to not be abusive? I have a hard time picturing this, to be honest, but just for the sake of argument, okay, let's pretend you are bringing out the worst in him and he wouldn't have been / be abusive to another woman. Well, in this case, it's best for both of you to not be together, right? I think he might be right in that in a long lasting relationship, the relationship patterns can be so ingrained that it's very difficult to change inside the relationship. If so, his best chance for healing and becoming a good person might be to leave.


I'd encourage you to concentrate right now on your own healing, and to spend time with your kid (not discussing your relationship with your kid, just spending time together).

All the best to you.
posted by M. at 12:05 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


"You aren't separated from him. You're still talking to him, seeing him, spending time with him. You need a solid 6 months of actual separation, as in you are not in any contact with him and you are not giving him all this time in your head and on your mind, before you will actually know anything about what you want to do next."

When my mum separated from my alcoholic dad, we lived with her dad for about 8 months. There was no contact between them at all. That's what separation is, not one of you moving out but with daily calls and texting and visiting. You aren't 3 months into a separation yet, you haven't even started.
posted by harriet vane at 9:15 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


The community has been pretty clear over the course of your three questions about your husband that he is gaslighting you , that you should leave him and you should leave your child out of these discussions. I feel like you are just going to keep asking people these same questions until you get enough answers to go along with what you already want to do.
posted by Julnyes at 9:39 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


He is still trying to blame you for the relationship not working, and telling you what you need to do to make him happy.

Nothing he says is about what he's going to do to make you happy.

It doesn't matter if the lack of closeness was "because you were loud." The point is, there was - and is - a lack of closeness, and he's not willing to do anything to fix it.

You don't need to fix it. You need a partner who can be emotionally close with you without insisting you change your entire style of communication.

It doesn't matter if you "didn't bring out the best in him." That's not your job. If he can't be his best self around you, you shouldn't be closely involved with him. Whose "fault" it is does not matter: you can't guilt yourself into a happy marriage.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:13 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


I was in an abusive marriage. I left and returned a number of times. My husband had all sorts of crazy reasons (all based on me) on why he did the things he did. I have been divorced for 11 years, separated for 15. I have no regrets at all. I am now in a relationship, and had another one, where there was never any out of control behavior. I worried that I was part of the problem in my marriage, and whatever relationship I got into would be volatile. It isn't true. In order to have stayed with my ex I would have had to shut down. Instead, my divorce was the single most transformative experience of my life, and I am so glad I did it. Right before I left my ex for good, a friend had split with her husband, and she it was such a relief to not live with "Mr. Critical" anymore. That is what you have to look forward to. Not living in a abusive relationship where you second guess every single thing that you do. Dating in general is a mixed bag, but I have had lots of wonderful dates, and two relationships, and I don't agree with what your family is saying. I also just have to say, that I got to a point in my marriage where things were so bad, that I realized I would rather be all alone then with him. That situation was on of the scariest of my life, and I don't recommend you getting to that point.
posted by momochan at 4:59 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


he's been asking me to talk softer since we got married...at least twice a day

I would never be with someone who didn't like my style of talking so much that the tried to change it every single day and felt like my style of talking was 95% of our relationship issues.

It seems like you don't want to leave because you are worried you will be lonely but personally I would rather be alone than be around someone who can't stand to hear me talk. (Or can stand to hear me talk but only if I really focus with every single word I'm saying on altering my voice so they find it acceptable)

It's ok for someone to prefer a partner who talks quietly but it's not ok to constantly badger someone to become that partner who talks quietly. He knew what you were like when he met you.

Seems like you are in a conservative culture or area, you need to decide if you care more about your own happiness in life or if fitting the mold of what others want from you (even if it means you are very unhappy) is more important to you.
posted by yohko at 5:38 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


I don't want to claim any expertise, but it seems a bit to me that _some_ of your anxiety comes from not knowing what's down the line _and_ from people reinforcing that idea. I would like to offer the idea that not only should you leave, but that you should try to live on your own for at least a year. I think the experience of being responsible _only_ for yourself and your surroundings, and not having to answer to anyone else or worry about pleasing them, might be cathartic and helpful.
posted by TimHare at 6:46 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


@ julynes....No I'm not looking for answers that support me staying...I've being pushing and working on myself alot to get the inner strength to leave ( because despite my fears / love for him ) , I would like to be emotionally strong enough to do that.I am quite anxious and have been really really trying to work on that aspect ...both with my cbt , I ordered the book ( online ) recommended on these answers .I also try to do the inner mental work/ homework from cbt.Its just that , reading and rereading these answers gives me strength ( because sometimes I get derailed in my head and these answers really help and I try to absorb that msge to guide me.) I also can't confide in family/ friends the extent of my situation due to multiple reasons.And I'm now leaning mostly to leaving.
posted by SarahSarah at 6:05 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


@M....Mum doesn't know the details of the relationship , but that's not it...for some reason she's convinced I will be taken advantage of by a new man .( She said as much ).Shes very old , and I'd rather spare her the pain of knowing about the rest ( she wouldn't support it if she knew).Sil is not his sis
posted by SarahSarah at 6:24 AM on June 28


"Better the devil you know" is just about the most god-awful saying ever devised. It hurts my soul. It lulls one into helpless inertia. This hateful phrase tries to make true the idea that staying in a toxic and unhappy situation is somehow better than taking steps to help yourself, because oh no, WHAT IF you end up even worse off than you already are?

Well, shit! If you were able to get away from that first devil, then maybe - just maybe - you'll be able to get away from that next, imaginary, not-at-all-guaranteed-to-exist devil as well! And good lord, in your specific situation, the "devil you know" is an addict who doesn't seem to even like you and is convincing you that you don't deserve to be liked, and who has demonstrated a capacity to verbally and physically abuse you, even if he isn't currently an active physical abuser right now. The devil you don't know is ... men you'll reject because they only want sex? You're not being treated as a human being in either of those cases, but if you get away from your current devil you also have the chance of finding strength on your own AND of finding a partner who truly respects and loves you. You're not going to find that with your husband.

I hate "better the devil you know" so, so much. So much. Nobody who tries to encourage you to stay in an existing bad situation by wielding that phrase against you is doing you any favors. Life is change; this vile "folk wisdom" is anti-life.

You're never going to meet an "angel" if you don't give yourself permission to get out there and meet as many "devils" as you can.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:00 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Another observation: you say that your husband has been complaining about your vocal volume since you got married, so I am guessing that even before you got married, you were probably as "loud" as you are now. That suggests that he knew about your loudness (such as it is) and was still cool marrying you ... which to me also suggests that he's lying when he says that the reason your relationship is bad is because you're too loud. If it was so unbearable, why exactly did he want to marry you?

Seriously, men who tell women in their lives that they are "too much" - too loud, too outgoing, too bold, too ANYTHING - are not healthy people to be around. You deserve to be you, and you deserve to live a life where you don't have to whittle yourself down into smallness to be worthy of love. I agree with everyone saying it's truly not about you being loud - even if you did manage to dampen your voice for him, he's only going to find other excuses for why you are to blame for his failure to provide love and respect.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:02 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]


This is not a good match up. That much is clear without visiting the ways he is using you, and without even trying to make him out to be a bad actor.

There is no way in hell that you are responsible for his addiction. He's using you to give him an excuse to continue doing what he does. I second the suggestion that you visit Alanon to see how certain things work. You implied that you've somehow found out about codependance. Might be time for a refresher course.

You say you are in your forties? Don't be afraid step completely away from a bad deal. I am in my seventies, so I guess I can offer that tidbit without having to go into a lot of details.

From my point of view you have probably more than thirty years of a good life ahead of you. Why not spend your energy putting that together instead of trying to fix him?

Good luck.
posted by mule98J at 5:22 PM on June 28


I'm going to be another voice for Al-Anon. I wonder if hearing other people say they are going through the EXACT SAME things with their abusers would finally get it across to you that you didn't cause his addiction, you can't cure it, and you can't control it. It was a revelation for me to hear people say they had been through the things I never shared with anyone, sometimes down to the exact words their partner used with them. Abuse is predictable.

After I left my ex, I spent about 3 months going to Al-Anon meetings every night. It gave me something to do, it was free, and it helped me. It's been 10 years since I left and I can still point to leaving as the best, hardest, thing I've ever done. I have grown as a person in ways I never imagined. And you can too.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:35 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Just popping in to add a thumbs-up to a few points to make sure you hear them:

- No-one is responsible for an addict's behaviour except them

- No other person would have been able to "save" your husband where you couldn't

- It is not your job to save him, and you should not waste your one precious life trying

- Anyone who tells you that you "bring them down" should be ejected from your life and replaced with someone who, to paraphrase Ms Kondo, sparks joy
posted by greenish at 7:49 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


i was in a realtionship with an addict for four years. never once did a talk like this help anything. addict relationship are almost by default abusive .you are not going to change their mind unless they've decided to get clean already.
posted by megan_magnolia at 10:37 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Just chiming in as the noise-sensitive partner of a man with a loud, carrying voice. Sure it can be a bit much, but we’ve made a joke of it (Use your inside voice!) and I know he doesn’t do it on purpose. I wouldn’t want him to actually change it - it’s who he his. And blaming lack of closeness on your ‘loudness’? That is next-level bullshit. He is literally trying to silence you in your relationship. I suspect you will be much happier living your best single life.
posted by t0astie at 2:00 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


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