Everything was fine in my three-year relationship, until I ended up living with him and he became verbally abusive.
He constantly puts me down, makes me feel like crap. Then he acts nice, makes me feel happy and everything’s good again.
I’m 22, he’s 27 and has no job, no career. I pay for all the bills. It’s hard because I work a minimum-wage job with no income support from my family.
His excuse is his extensive criminal record, no one will hire him, so it’s very “difficult.” I feel depressed and sad. Sometimes I can’t even go shopping or do my nails because I’m taking care of him.
I’ve wasted three years and feel I invested that time for nothing.
I’m no longer happy. When I moved in with him he said he’d pay some of the rent and I believed him, but he’s living off me. I don’t want to leave him stranded with nothing if I kick him out. What should I do?
Run! That’s what many people would say. I would too except that you’ve lived common-law with him, and, depending on the laws where you live – and your own sense of responsibility – you may have to pay him something to legally separate.
A legal-aid clinic should be able to tell you what your obligations to him are, if any, how much is reasonable to pay him, and for how long.
Now, back to breaking up which is clearly the right decision. He’s been using you, shown no interest in working, and is mentally/emotionally abusive. You’re young, capable of being independent, and have learned what you don’t want, which is a dependant who’s periodically making you miserable while also taking advantage of you.
Get legal advice, then make a safe plan for breaking up and leaving your current place. Use an outside - e.g. public library computer - to find another place to rent, and leave when he’s not around. It’s a safer choice than staying there, since his behaviour has shown that he may react abusively.
I found porn that my husband was hiding from me. He said it’s from when we split up briefly six years ago, and he hasn’t looked at it since.
I don't believe him because it explains the lack of intimacy between us. He’s been otherwise engaged in the relationship but not through intimacy.
Finding the porn made me feel so sad and disappointed, betrayed, abandoned, and angry. My last two partners had cheated on me.
I'm struggling with what it says about me that I’d stay with someone I believe is lying to me. I don't know if I can trust him.
How do we move forward? Is it a waving red flag? He doesn’t believe in therapy so that's not an option.
Truth or Lies
The important discussion needed is why he’s distanced from intimacy with you. If you put the porn discovery aside, a change in intimacy can have to do with changes in his health - erectile dysfunction, moodiness/depression, drinking too much, other addictions, etc.
Or, it can reflect emotional distancing between you two, based on some disagreements that haven’t been resolved. If he doesn’t believe in therapy, is he willing to talk things out, or is this now just a standoff about whether he’s lying? Or that you won’t believe him because of past cheaters?
Get counselling for yourself, then try to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman sexually abused as a child by someone in the religious sect of her parents, who accused her of “lying”(October 23):
Reader – “It’s tough enough to have been sexually assaulted, then not believed and supported by your own parents – disgraceful!
“There are many support groups on Facebook, with people encouraging each other and sharing stories, a space where you’ll be believed, and where horrible situations don’t get the best of anyone there.
“Also check out your local therapy clinics, specializing in religious mind-control and cognitive dissonance.
“I was part of a religion growing up too. Although I was never sexually abused as a child, I know many in this community who have been. It’s frustrating being surrounded by “brainwashed” people who take the word of others over their own blood.
“It’s important to know that you’re not alone, at all, and this was by no means your fault.”
Tip of the day:
A repeatedly abusive partner who takes advantage financially? Make a private, safe plan to end the relationship. Involve police if necessary.