I’m a male, 22, financially stable, on a career path.
Last year, after recently finishing drug rehab treatment, I dated a woman, 28, whom I met in the program. I believed I was in love.
Soon, I felt obligated to help her with rent, so we moved in together.
She became controlling, insecure, verbally abusive, and all but forbade me to see my friends. Three months later, she was pregnant, and we got married.
She still berates me whenever a friend calls or I plan to go out.
She’s due soon; I’ve done everything to be a supportive, responsible adult. But I feel trapped, alone, overwhelmed and blame myself for impulsive decisions.
I’ve said, “We can’t go on like this, I need more independence.”
I’ve never cheated on her.
I don’t love her, but I also don’t want to face custody battles or risk my son growing up without a full-time father.
She’s promised to change, but as soon as a friend calls, she freaks.
I want to start living an enjoyable, drug-free life.
- All the wrong reasons
She doesn’t want to lose you for even a minute, so she’ll eventually agree to trying to find the way to stay together as parents, through going to marriage counselling with you.
Whatever issues sent her into needing rehab, are likely at play in her extreme neediness and insecurity. She knew enough to enter a program before, and you both should recognize that you need outside help now.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to sustain this life with her – and eventually your drive for survival will force you to leave.
An experienced therapist will be able to get to the root of her fears regarding your friendships and free time. And couples’ therapy will help you, too, to negotiate what “independence” means within a partnership.
I’m 39, divorced for seven years. He had a frightening temper and would threaten to drive the car off the road. He tried to choke me twice, and hit me occasionally.
I’m remarried to a kind, caring and intelligent man.
My ex sees our two children every other day and on holidays and summer vacations. He’s now also remarried.
When we were together, he didn’t do any housework, or childcare, and never cooked for the kids or me. Now he does all that and more for his new wife and our children. (I know it’s a good thing for the kids to see).
They also travel, take dance lessons and generally do all the things that I would’ve liked when we were together.
It shouldn't bother me, but it does.
Shamefully, I also resent it when he wants to take our children for long two-week trips with him. I don't want to let them go.
Do I need counselling or is this natural?
- Still Adjusting
Adjusting IS natural, but wallowing in regrets is a waste of time.
You’re not the same person that you were when you married him – you’re older, wiser, and experienced; the same goes for him.
He was a jerk with a terrifying temper and you had to end the marriage to save yourself and the kids.
Now – perhaps through the shock of divorce, and/or therapy – he’s learned self-control and the value of loving, peaceful relationships.
It’s so hugely important for your children’s lives to see their father as an enjoyable, responsible parent, that you must shuck all resentment from the past and focus on today’s benefits.
I'm 44, happily married.
My mother gave me up at birth, and then changed her mind months later, when my father was forced to marry her.
She was an abusing, terrorizing mother, until her second marriage. Then she became verbally abusive.
We were estranged for years.
Last year, she was diagnosed with emphysema – we shared visits and phone calls.
Recently, though, she said my brother was her “real” child because the wedding occurred before his birth. I was so angry and shattered, and I want nothing further to do with her.
Do I allow this monster back into my life?
Let her in, but only as far as you can handle.
Your happy marriage is your great strength that should allow you to see your mother as a sad, pathetic, soul. She uses nasty words to get more attention, albeit negative.
Understanding her is the key to not reacting.
Tip of the day:
Bad marriages needn’t be life sentences, if you actively seek help in fixing or changing the situation.