During our 31-year marriage, we sometimes love each other and sometimes fight like crazy.
My husband suffers from mental illness. In the last ten years, he had two car accidents, fell 25 feet from a tree, and lost his job four years ago.
He refuses to seek another job and hasn’t worked since. He was on meds but refuses to go back on. He’s seeing a therapist but they don’t seem to discuss his issues, from what I’m told.
He says I don't put him first, that I put everyone else in front of him including my dad who died two months ago at 84.
He wants to control everything - our money, my spending, my looks, my weight, my friends and my job (lost seven months ago, looking but finding a new job’s hard at 50-plus.)
He's destroyed my family unity by telling my family to leave me alone. He wants to control my dad’s estate, though he’s not in the will.
He's bought things we didn't need (3000 DVDs, 100 serving spoons, 50 drinking glasses, 500 pieces of cutlery…) junk from auctions that he thought were good deals.
He says our sex life is terrible, even when I do things he enjoys during sex.
I recently discovered that he’s joined an on-line dating service and chats online with women. I saw three emails asking him to talk sex with them. He's flirted with my friends right in front of me.
He also acts like a child and throws fits if he doesn't get his way.
Our children are disgusted with his actions and words. His own family only talk to him about general topics, nothing important.
He’s become so lazy that he won't put a dish in the dishwasher, wears his cloths until their threadbare, cuts his hair only twice a year. Yet he wants me to look perfect.
If I get my hair done, and it costs me $100.00, he’ll take $100.00 for himself.
I’ve given this marriage 100 percent but he thinks I’m worthless and has repeatedly told me that once our kids are gone, he’ll leave me.
Don't know what to do with him anymore.
What Do I Do With Him?
Two car accidents, and a 25-foot fall from a tree?
Either your husband is a careless driver who also takes risks with tall trees, OR your statement that he has mental illness comes from a true diagnosis from a doctor who put him on medication.
By coming off those meds, his judgment on safety issues can’t be trusted, and his behaviour has become erratic and very hard on your relationship with him.
Get informed about mental illness in general - e.g. from bi-polar behaviour to depression, to early signs of dementia.
Your descriptions sound like he’s out of control regarding everyday activities. You need to learn what’s causing this.
Without breaking patient confidentiality, ask his doctor what happens to someone who stops taking the particular medication that was prescribed.
Also ask the physician who treated him for more information, or referral to a specialist who’ll have more answers.
Meanwhile, talk to a lawyer about securing your own money from his access, about how to handle any joint accounts with him, and secure your father’s estate out of his reach.
Most important, is discovering his actual mental state – for his safety, but also for you to know what’s possible going forward and what isn’t possible.
When I read your column, I sometimes find information that I want to share with my daughter, who’s 21 and dating.
But when I tell her things about sex or male behaviour, she shuts me down, says she’s got things under control, her generation does things differently, etc.
How can I be a good role model and advisor if she won’t even talk to me about anything personal?
You’re already a role model by how you live, which she sees everyday.
One important message is already out there – that you care deeply about her.
She’s not ready, however, to share all the personal stuff that she, at this age, still feels is unique to her. But she does hear some of what you say, and may even discuss it further with her friends.
Meanwhile, you’re her mother, not her girlfriend; you’re also not her therapist, so don’t probe much. She’s taking in more than you think.
Tip of the day:
When a partner’s mental health is in serious question, seek information from his/her physician, or get the person to a mental health clinic.