33 Weeks Pregnant and Feeling Trapped

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Reader’s Question

I am 33 weeks pregnant with my third child. My first two children are 13 and 15. I got remarried a year ago, and my new husband really wanted another child, so we decided to have this little one.

I had a traumatic first marriage, as my ex-husband had numerous affairs and was always out drinking with his buddies.

I do have trust issues with my new husband, partly because of my past. I have explained to him why I feel the way that I do, and asked that he be sensitive to my emotional needs, especially in the last six weeks of my pregnancy. He has been treating me with little emotion or love and with no respect. When we have intercourse, which is the only affection I get from him lately, he won’t look at me and afterward he turns around and falls asleep.

He plays in a band, so every Thursday night he gets completely drunk in our garage and makes a huge noise until early hours of the morning with his friends. I have asked him not to wake me up, because I end up not sleeping and with a knot in my stomach every week.

We had a premarital agreement with our marriage counselor that he would not start smoking again. Not only has he been smoking cigarettes behind my back, but he has also been smoking grass behind my back. He discusses our relationship and moans to all his friends about me. He lies to me about where he is. Over the past two weeks he has gone out twice and said he would be home at a certain time, then come home late drunk. I have been so anxious and stressed about this. I feel as though I have married my ex.

He is a very social person who gets his energy from other people and socialising. He is explosive when I question him about any of his friends or if I even mention that I am not comfortable with his going out at night, especially because most of his friends are grass smokers, drink way too much and are single. I cannot even mention his band — he goes crazy and swears and screams at me. He constantly tells me that I am choking him and that I am trying to control him.

I do not feel supported by him. I feel that he is totally self-absorbed and selfish. Since I have fallen pregnant it seems to be getting worse. He tells me that he is really excited to become a dad and that family comes first, but this is not what he shows me.

I feel out of control. I cannot focus on my work, and I have been in tears for days. Last night I checked into a hotel because he promised me that he would come home early to spend time chatting to me before band practice so that we could work our issues out. But he had some “business” meeting and arrived home just before his band practice so drunk that he had driven his car into someone and he could not stand straight or speak clearly. I asked him to please cancel his practice so that we could chat. He told me that I was blackmailing him emotionally and that he would not tolerate me controlling him.

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I left and he did not even bother calling me to see whether I was okay. This morning I called him and he told me that I was unreasonable, irrational and that he had done nothing wrong.

I do not know how to detach myself emotionally from this situation; I am trapped and it is killing me.

Psychologist’s Reply

What a completely horrible situation. You have explained yourself very well. From what you’ve said, I don’t know his side of the story. (You seem to suggest that he does). It seems that you are both emotionally charged; who wouldn’t be? Pregnant, with your history and trust issues, and the sudden changes and mixed messages.

I strongly encourage you to be assertive in resolving this problem for the sake of you and the baby. It is not only you who is being killed by it. The baby is bathing in stress hormones as a result of all this. So take a deep breath right now, even as you read this. Put your hand over your baby and tell her it’s going to be alright. One way or another, you’re going to make things safe for yourself and for her. Just take a moment and breathe. Make your baby’s environment safe right now. You can control the environment inside your body even when you feel trapped outside. When you feel a bit calmer, then read on.

You mention you have a premarital agreement with a marriage counselor. I advise you to put that agreement into action. The smoking is certainly an issue. Even more important than the smoking is the need for mediation. Clearly you are not seeing eye-to-eye. Hopefully, a mediator can see both sides of the story and help you clarify the issues and reconcile. Your husband would likely agree to mediation since he seems frustrated by you too and signed the agreement before marriage. If this course of action makes sense to you, then call your marriage counselor today. Every day you suffer changes the chemistry of your baby’s developing body. Every day that you work to resolve your problems makes you assertive, confident, and more in control. We needn’t solve every problem in the world to feel assertive and safe. We do need to try, to express ourselves, and to be heard. You’ve already taken the first step by writing. Take the second step and act on your foresight in writing a prenup. When your mediation is over, hopefully you will have a new, updated inter-nuptial agreement that will put your marriage in a new, secure perspective for you all.

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