Husband a “Great Guy” But Jealous and Physically Abusive

Reader’s Question

I am 25 years old and have been married for 8 years now. My marriage has been a rocky marriage since the beginning even though I am married to a great man. He is a great provider and gives me everything that I want; he doesn’t drink or smoke but he is an extremely possessive and jealous man. Due to this I have been a victim of verbal and physical abuse and at this moment I am tired of everything. Sometimes I just want to give up completely and wish that I could fall asleep and never wake. Even though there have been amazing moments in our life, the pain that I feel every time that he hits me is immense and the love that I once felt for him is no longer there. I don’t love him and I no longer want to be with him; every time that he hits me, he cries and asks for forgiveness, promising never to do it again… This time I just don’t believe him anymore. If he hasn’t changed in 8 years, what makes me think that he’ll change at all? I need some professional advice regarding this matter. I just want to know if I’m doing wrong in leaving him or should I continue to live a farce and pretend that we are the perfect couple?

Psychologist’s Reply

Several things are obvious in your situation:

  1. You’re not the perfect couple. He’s a “great man” — but not to you. This is a controlling, abusive, and possessive relationship.
  2. He has a personality and behavioral pattern that is unlikely to change. Abusers often assault their victims, then avoid criminal arrest with a theatrical display of crying, misery, and pleas for forgiveness.
  3. He has burned out the feelings you have for him and you now don’t love him and don’t want to be with him. From your standpoint, the marriage is dead.
  4. You are becoming emotionally exhausted from this eight-year ordeal.

I recommend reading my articles on Identifying Losers in Relationships and Love and Stockholm Syndrome on this website. Losers, controllers, and abusers all use similar techniques as I’ve described in my Loser article. That article also offers advice on how to detach from an abusive individual, including creating an “exit plan” over the next many months. You’ll need an exit plan to leave this abusive situation. The second article explains why you’re still there. Each time you think of leaving, you also think of those “amazing moments” and feel there’s hope. The continuing abuse should remind you that physical abuse and emotional misery are a huge price to pay, hoping that one of those amazing moments will appear again…which is actually unlikely. I worked with an individual who won $10,000 on a lottery scratch-off ticket. Over the next two years he pushed his family into bankruptcy and divorce, as well as losing his job, by spending most of his income on lottery scratch-off tickets — hoping to recapture that “amazing moment” when he hit the $10,000 win. It never happened again.

If you want to give the marriage one last try, place the relationship on “probation” for several months. Try to fix things, seek marital counseling, seek counseling for yourself to repair emotional damage, and see if he can change. If he can’t make the change, then an exit plan can be considered.

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