I’m a man, 45, with an unhealthy relationship with my wife of four years.
She’s been the primary breadwinner and manages the finances because she wanted to have equality in some key decision areas.
I’m normally extremely patient and didn't have anger management issues, until I married her.
I’ve learned that I’d married a narcissist and chronic manipulator.
When we dated (one year) and marriage was debated, I was threatened with her leaving and finding someone else… and again, two weeks before the wedding.
During our first big fight after getting married, I was threatened with divorce.
She’s since threatened taking "her” car, and told me to leave “her” house (owned with joint signatures).
If I vent about something, she brushes it aside and instantly becomes the victim.
When she was laid off for a year, I only asked that she make an earnest effort at finding another job and contribute to the household chores.
I ended up doing most of the cooking and cleaning.
She did contribute to helping with the finances from her severance package.
When she later found a job that pays six times my salary, I was asked to contribute 50% of my earnings towards our monthly expenses.
She’d simply match the amount, making it grossly unfair.
She keeps a separate banking account but doesn't trust me with access to it.
Yet she insisted on having a joint account, which my pay goes into, while hers goes to her personal account.
Admittedly, I’ve lost my patience over the years and have found it increasingly difficult to communicate with her.
She won't listen or compromise.
Her manipulation of our arguments, her victim mentality, and her financial bullying has made me lose love for her.
I’ve gained almost 40 pounds and lost hair several different times since we married.
I’m given an "allowance" and am going out alone once a week to a local bar or with friends to drink my sorrows away.
A natural athlete, musician, and sports lover, I’ve lost my passion for all of these. I'm beginning to smoke to calm my nerves because of built-up anxiety.
Men like me are embarrassed to admit that they’re in abusive relationships and too afraid.
With the #MeToo movement, which I fully support and understand, I think that it’s time for men to be heard too.
Yet I do care and love her enough to make it work.
It’s working fine for her, but it’s harming you.
You’ve lost your self-confidence, have increasing anxiety issues and other negative health effects, and you’re being psychologically abused as well as financially controlled.
I urge you as I would any other abused male or female, to consider making a safe plan to leave her.
Only once you’re gone and regaining emotional and physical strength should you attempt counselling with her… and it may not work.
You’ll also need legal advice about how to handle re-directing your own earnings under your charge.
Reader’s Commentary “I’m a labour and delivery nurse and disagree with having visitors immediately postpartum (January 18 column question).
“These women have often been awake for 24 hours , have post-op pain and are learning to breastfeed.
“They should not be entertaining. Their new baby is overwhelming enough.
“All visitors should wait until family is discharged home, if that is what mom wants.
“Any visitors allowed should arrive with food and stay briefly.”
FEEDBACK Regarding a woman upset with her husband’s distance, had an affair, and now loves them both but must choose (Jan. 17):
Reader – “She’s finally found happiness, respect and friendship with someone.
“She gave her marriage more time and energy than was deserved.
“Her husband’s only trying now because he lost her.
“If she were to go back with him he’d eventually revert to his old ways.
“She exhausted all possibilities in her marriage and is only considering it out of guilt and trying to please her family.
“It’s okay for her to move forward with her life and have a fulfilling relationship with a loving and stable partner.”
Ellie – You may be right that the new man’s the better choice for her.
Generally, however, I believe that choosing between two people is not the only or best solution.
She’d benefit from time on her own, and possibly counselling, to be sure of what she wants long-term.
Tip of the day:
Men and women alike, who live in abusive relationships, should start working on a safe plan to leave, as well as speak out against abuse.