Once We Got Married, He Changed

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Reader’s Question

Q I have been married to my husband for 6 years, but we have been together for 8 years. In the beginning things were great. But once we got married, he changed.

My husband insists that men and women cannot be just friends. Yet, he has a female friend. Still, he has a problem with any friends that I might have. His attitude is so bad toward the people I know that I have lost all the friends I once had. No one likes my husband because he makes everyone feel like they are nothing.

When we got married my husband started accusing me of cheating on him. I could not even go to work without his accusing me of being with another man. I was working hard, trying to regain custody of my 5 children, buying a house, and paying all the bills myself, so this was hard to deal with. My husband does not help me pay any bills and says that my kids belong to me, so I should pay all the bills and buy all the groceries.

I am always good to this man. He was diagnosed with Diabetes in December 2006. I was at the hospital with him everyday, all day long, except for when I had to go back to work. He accused me of cheating on him then. I cook and clean each and every day but get no credit for all I do. He tells me it is what I am supposed to do. He always wants to argue and keep me up late at night, knowing I have to work the next day. It got to where I would sleep in my car just so I could get some sleep.

He calls me all kinds of bad words and then expects to have sex with me. If I do not want to, he starts asking me who have I been sleeping with. He will ask me for sex even when I am sick. I had my Gallbladder removed, and he wanted sex the same day I was released from the hospital. He does not like me talking to any male, not even my own dad. I purchased everything in this house, and he tells me that if we divorce that I am not entitled to anything. I purchased a $600 laptop for school, and he found out I was talking to my dad on the computer. He grabbed my computer and threw it to the floor and stomped on it and broke it. But he never owns up to anything he does wrong. He is right and everyone is wrong!

My husband has threatened to stab my eyes out if I do not admit who I have been cheating with. I never cheated on him and never will. I will leave him before I do that. He makes my kids feel unwelcome in their own house and tells them that he will put them out on the street.

He has everyone thinking that he takes care of us, and he doesn’t. I have lost all respect for him and do not trust him. Whatever love I once had for him is gone. I do not like to sleep in the same room or same bed with him, and think I will file for divorce soon as possible.

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I do not know how to tell him that it is over, but I need to do it soon. Do you have any idea of how I should tell him I do not love him any more and that we are through? How do I tell him that he does not deserve the house or its contents because he has not purchased anything. If I have to fight to get him to leave my house it might be easier for me to just leave. I really do not know what to do or how to do it. But I do know the love I have for him is gone.

Psychologist’s Reply

Some things you mention raise issues that don’t appear to warrant much debate.

You state that your husband tries to dominate and intimidate and has threatened you with harm, even in the absence of reasons to be angry with you (not that it really matters what “reason” a person might offer for any kind of hostile or threatening behavior). You have also described violent behavior on his part. Research indicates that some individuals who attempt to control through the kinds of tactics you describe tend to view others as possessions or objects of personal gratification. And finally, doing what it takes to break the cycle of control can be particularly offensive to them. So, many experts advise that persons in your situation not only seek professional guidance and help (preferably from a counselor experienced in dealing with abusive situations), but also work on solidifying a reliable network of supportive friends and family and a viable plan to help ensure your safety. It would be best to stay in ongoing contact with members of your support network, to be open about your concerns, and to solicit their support for your safety plan and your efforts to regain control of your life.

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