Archives from Ask Dr. J.
Dear Dr. J
This is my first time I'm looking for some help on a problem. First, me and my husband are always arguing. We have a house "rent to own". At first he wanted to work on the house as a fix-up project. Now he wants to move. We have three kids, 13, 11, and 14 months and one on the way. I didn't want any more children, but here I am all stressed out and depressed.
Our two oldest children love it here. It's my home town and their grandparents are close by. It's a small community. They can come and go when they please. My husband is from a big city, and he wants to move back. I don't. I'm comfortable here. Me and the children are settled and I don't know what to do. They don't want to move. He said they can live with their grandparents. See, the two oldest children aren't his, and it's hurting me that he only cares about our youngest one and the one on the way. He says he won't go to the doctor with me and I'm getting more and more depressed all the time. He doesn't care. He just cares about himself.
I'm trying really hard to keep our marriage together and he's not. If I move, I know he'd be gone all the time drinking with his friends and I'd be home in an apartment with our kids. I did that before with the children and hated it. I can't do that again. My husband.. now that's another story. He sleeps all the time. I'm up with the children. They go to bed and I get ready for bed. He gets up. We don't spend any time together any more. We don't eat together, we don't talk--we argue. I'm left crying and he walks away like he did half an hour ago to go back to bed. Or he was going to a friend's house to relax. He usually goes there for three and four days and don't call unless I call him.
I'm really starting to hate my life and don't know what to do. I don't want another baby. I already have enough on my plate to deal with... My HUSBAND and the sh*t he's getting on with. What can I do? I need help. We need help, but he won't get any. When I mention help, he gets mad and starts an argument. Then he says "Ok, we'll get help. The marriage counselor will agree with me. I know how to talk and everything will be your fault. I'll be right and you'll be wrong. The marriage counselor will agree that we should move. It will be good for me. Well, us." Yeah, right. So do you think you can help? I hope you can. I'm lost. Don't get me wrong. I love my husband more than anything. I'd do just about anything for him, but not this time. I can't. I know what will happen. I can't wait to hear your reply.
As I was reading your letter, it was becoming clearer and clearer to me how destructive your marriage is, and then at the end you said how much you loved your husband and would do anything for him! I’m confused. Love has to be felt. If there are no loving behaviors and feelings coming your way from your husband, how is it that you love him?
Your first step is to think about what love is and what a loving relationship is.
Unless you’ve left out all of the loving things you get from your husband, the
relationship you describe is abusive and exploitive. I’m having difficulty finding
what needs you ARE getting met by being with this guy? He doesn’t help with or
spend time with your children. In fact, he has rejected two of them (the ones
he didn’t father). He drinks and leaves the house for days at a time with no
consideration for how this effects you or the family. You don’t spend time together
or enjoy each other’s company. It sounds as if he’s stopped participating in the
family altogether….he’s either sleeping, arguing with you, or gone. Linda, you deserve so much more than this! Perhaps you are financially dependent
on him? If so, it may be hard to leave for that reason.
Actually, this conflict about moving may be the breaking point and will allow you
to get out of this situation. DO NOT move with him! You are absolutely right that
things will probably get worse once he isolates you from your family and community.
If he hasn’t been physically abusive yet, there is a strong potential he could be.
In any case, he is emotionally abusive and sounds very manipulative based on
the comments he made to you about marriage counseling. If you could get him
there, the counselor will see through his manipulation and may be able to help
you two. But, quite honestly, men like your husband do not change into Prince
Charming. They usually stay a frog and will be a frog no matter who they are
I’m sure being pregnant again has added to your depression and stress, but it may
also be a wakeup call to you to make a change before your next child is born.
He will have to pay child support if you divorce. I don’t know anything about
your financial situation, but don’t hesitate to ask your family for support in getting
you out of the marriage and on your feet. You will need to work to support your
family, but as hard as it is for single women with children, you will be better off
on your own than with him. I know I sound very one-sided on this, but I’ve been
a psychologist for a long time and, even though I haven’t met YOUR husband, I’ve
seen him a hundred times in therapy….he won’t change. And you need to think
about your self and your children. Often times fear of the unknown is worse than
actually getting out of a bad situation and making a change. I think you need to
get out of this marriage as soon as possible. Good Luck!