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In for another miserable weekend because of sex

(173 Posts)
NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 08:29:23

We haven't had sex since last Saturday. We're supposed to be in a 'no pressure, it happens when it happens' phase because we've had lots of issues around him wanting more sex than me, not expressing that in the right way and me losing interest because he makes me feel like crap.

I've explained if he just relaxes and let's things happen naturally we'll end up having better sex. Maybe not as often as he would like but he complains lots about quality and my thinking was this would be a quality over quantity thing. Last weekend after this discussion and agreement we had great sex and he was really happy and up for the idea.

Fast forward to last night. We went to bed, I gave him a cuddle (another thing he complains is that I don't show him enough affection so I've been trying to make the effort to) he immediately thinks great we're having sex. I know if we don't have sex now he's going to shouty and miserable for the rest of the weekend. I feel like I have to have sex now and that immediately takes any fun out of it.

So I said words to the effect of let's just have a quicky. Because I honestly haven't got it in me to roll around for hours with someone who doesn't really care as long as he gets off. It didn't go down well. He ranted for a bit then told me to just get on with it then, I could make the effort for a change. I tried but he wasn't really turned on, I said let's just leave it tonight so he got out of bed and started shouting about oh that's great we're in for a great fucking weekend now. And that its my fucking job to turn him on if he's not and I can forget staying out tomorrow night (we're supposed to be staying at a friends DC at GP) he makes horrible digs and is shouty and rude stomping about the house.

Part of the problem is he knows we're out tomorrow and Sunday he has to have an early night so he thinks we won't get a chance for a couple more days. I do know that but just wanted to do what we said and let it happen when it happens and try and build it up slowly. I got up with the DC this morning and took him in a coffee this morning and he's already grumpy with me.

He'll be shouty and grumpy all day now. He's done this so many times and I hate it that a lovely weekend is ruined by sex again. sad

CoffeeAndScones Sat 21-Sep-13 08:33:30

You know none of this is your fault, don't you? Your DH is being an utter arse and a bit EA tbh.

colditz Sat 21-Sep-13 08:34:29

The weekend hasn't been ruined by sex, it's been ruined by your partners behavior. Sex is great. Your partner isn't.

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 08:34:46

Been there done that, he's an ex.

I think you need to tell him that he will lose you if he keeps tantruming like that about sex.

Are there any other issues?

How does he make you feel like crap?

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 08:35:39

I know. I also know it makes me sad that he'll be miserable with me (and worse DC) because of this when I could have stopped it.

3littlefrogs Sat 21-Sep-13 08:36:03

Do you want to stay with him?

Do you love him? Do you think he really loves you?

It sounds grim. sad

FannyFifer Sat 21-Sep-13 08:36:54

Wow really, he sounds like an utter arsehole with no respect for you.
I vote LTB!

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 08:36:56

Only he can stop it.

Don't blame yourself.

Preciousbane Sat 21-Sep-13 08:37:11

He sounds bloody horrible, the last thing anyone wants is sex under pressure.

Do you have dc op?

Is your relationship unequal in other ways as well?

Preciousbane Sat 21-Sep-13 08:38:43

Sorry x posted , see you do have dc.

No one should ever have sex if they don't want to, remember that and don't let him pressurise you.

MoreThanWords Sat 21-Sep-13 08:39:19

Also been there, done that. Even reading your thread makes me feel sick. I am currently seeing a counsellor for many other issues but we keep coming back to how NOT to have sex because the other person wants it.

I could never work out what MY rhythm of sexual desire was because I would give in early to appease exh.

As a pp said, he is being a knob, and fast tracking himself to singledom.

valiumredhead Sat 21-Sep-13 08:41:30

Urgh,I could never stay with a man like this. Sex should be a pleasure not a chore and there's no way it would be a pleasure with someone who behaves like this!

Seriously have a think about if you want to stay with someone ago puts this much pressure on you. He's basically saying 'sleep with me whenever I want or I will shout at you.'

valiumredhead Sat 21-Sep-13 08:42:28

Who not ago

QuietTiger Sat 21-Sep-13 08:43:18

Your "D"H is an EA twat. To give you an idea of a healthy relationship with sex:

DH and I lead very busy lives. Sometimes sex gets put on the back burner. We haven't had sex for about 10 days. This morning, DH wanted to "get it on" and I was too tired. So after some mutual cuddling, which didn't lead to full on sex, DH got up, went and made a coffee, and he made one for me too.

My DH was civil and considerate and me not feeling like sex made absolutely no difference to his behaviour. "Sex to shut your DH up to keep him in a good mood" is not anything more than him being emotionally abusive.

NeedlesCuties Sat 21-Sep-13 08:48:03

Was he like this pre-DC?

He sounds vile.

BeCool Sat 21-Sep-13 08:53:19

Why would you want to have sex with him anyway - he sounds like a childish, self obsessed arse. Being around him and his nasty brattish manipulative behaviour must be such a huge turn off for you.

At best he is lacking in empathy. It's so not your fault.

You are showing willing to try and work things out and work through this, but you won't be able to if he isn't engaged and involved. And what what you've shared here, he is so so so far away from ever being in that place.

Is he shouty, manipulative & nasty about other things?

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 08:54:22

It made me feel sad and threatened just to read your post. Me and my partner sometimes go for weeks without having sex, due to all sorts of reasons. We deal with it by talking, being patient and being respectful. We love each other, so there's kissing, cuddling, understanding and putting the other's needs first. I don't recognise the type of relationship you are describing. Sounds awful and makes me wish you were in a safe relationship.

Xenadog Sat 21-Sep-13 08:55:59

Tell him to have a wank and leave you alone! Seriously this is abusive - you do know that, don't you?

If you love him and want to make things work then you need to have some proper counselling about this although I feel that sex may be a bit about control here and not just DTD. Actually just thinking about what's going on makes me think of my ex and I don't want to project my circumstances onto you.

OP I suggest you tell him you have a problem as a couple and that you need to talk this through with a relationship expert and get some help for how to resolve this issue. If it is more about control and abuse that will become very clear.

Alternatively LTB and focus on what makes you happy.

Offred Sat 21-Sep-13 08:56:32

Yes, the weekend has not been ruined by sex. It has been ruined by your horrible h!

Could you take sex completely off the table until you can improve the communication and intimacy.

If it continues like this it will become (think it probably already is tbh) sexual abuse as well as emotional abuse.

What is the rest of the relationship like?

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 08:56:49

Sorry, lots of replies. To answer some questions. Yes there's lots of other issues. He makes me feel like crap by moaning about everything. Shouting at me about coming in late (this is at tea time if I've been out with DC) talking down to me, being horrible about my family in front of DC. Lots of things.

Yes I love him, I'm not sure its as I should a husband. It's all been drowned by all the crappy issues.

He is really good in lots of ways. Works hard, does lots of housework etc, supports me wanting to go to uni etc. But its the way he does it. Like he'll throw it all back in my face in a second if he thinks its justified.

Yes morethanwords that's what its like. I have no idea how much I would really actually want sex because I don't get the chance to try. I've often thought I'll probably end up in therapy over this relationship!

QuietTiger, your life sounds like heaven. It's hard to imagine that relationships like that exsist.

OxfordBags Sat 21-Sep-13 08:58:46

It's not your job to stop him displaying unacceptable behaviour. Only he is responsible for that. You mustn't demean yourself by having sex you don't want just so an arsehole chooses to behave badly because he couldn't get what he wanted. Do you pander to every whim and unreasonable demand from your DC? No? So how come you think it's your place to do it for a grown adult? He is EA, and, sexually abusive too, with all this pressure and telling you it's your job to turn him on, etc.

He is using sex as his method of abuse. Believe me, of you shagged him 10 times a day in all sorts of acrobatic positions, he'd start abusing you in some other way. This is not about sex, this is about him controlling you, and making you feel bad about yourself in order to discharge his own hard feelings, onstead of dealing with them like every other adult has to.

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 08:59:50

I also feel worried for you because with exH eventually he started being physically violent (that's where it ended).

If he takes it on the children too is a very worrying sign.

Offred Sat 21-Sep-13 09:01:35

Yes agree with Oxford. After the last post I think LTB.

OxfordBags Sat 21-Sep-13 09:02:43

X-post. It doesn't matter that he works hard and does housework, he'd have to do those things whether you existed or not, and supporting you to go to uni doesn't prove much, especially as his supportive is clearly conditional on whether he feels like it or not.

Your description of being with him is a description of an abusive relationship. That he's doing all this in front of the Dc means they are being emotionally abused and damaged by it too. Please don't lie to yourself they are not being affected adversely by all this. The fact that you say you don't even know your own sex drive because of how he is, is very upsetting and troubling - and an even clearer sign that you are being abused and controlled.

Abuse doesn't have to be beatings and rapes, it can be more low-level like this.

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 09:03:39


I don't think he can improve.

Offred Sat 21-Sep-13 09:05:23

Even if he can improve, he is abusing you in front of the dc. I would not want to give him a chance to change.

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 09:05:24

Doesn't sound particularly low level to me. Being told it's your job to service him sexually?

My partner works hard, does his fair share around the house, supports me in my career and doesn't bully me in to having sex.

Bonsoir Sat 21-Sep-13 09:05:31

It sounds as if you are sexually totally incompatible.

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 09:06:13

It sounds as though he's sexually incontinent.

valiumredhead Sat 21-Sep-13 09:06:46

Quiet tiger's life and description of her relationship is how it should be and perfectly normal OP.

Offred Sat 21-Sep-13 09:07:05

I think pretty much anyone with any self respect would be "sexually incompatible" with this prize of a man bonsoir...

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 09:12:06

I only regret not leaving exH earlier.

If he was to change it would have to be a major turnaround, and I don't think it will happen if you stay with him, if at all.

I doubt you'll leave him now, but do prepare for it, because at some point you will feel the need to do it.

Xenadog Sat 21-Sep-13 09:12:19

He isn't supportive of you though is he, not when he throws you going to uni back in your face? You don't love him as a husband you say -so how do you feel?

ExcuseTypos Sat 21-Sep-13 09:13:48

Yes QuietTiger describes a normal and loving relationship.

You shouldn't be having sex just to stop someone from being horrible to you and your children, all weekend. sad.

OxfordBags Sat 21-Sep-13 09:17:47

Vivacia, I meant low-level compared to beatings and rapes, I must clarify. This sounds a horrible reltaionship, and must be so damaging for the OP and her Dc.

danielswifetobe Sat 21-Sep-13 09:19:25

If my DH behaved like that the only physical contact he'd get would be my foot up his arse and out the door!!.
How immature to behave like that when he doesnt get sex. Sorry youre having to put up with it

QuietTiger Sat 21-Sep-13 09:21:12

I've just spoken to my DH and showed him this thread, as actually OP, I'm a bit rattled by what you feel is "normal".

This is what my DH said, and I quote:

"It is not a woman's job to service a mans sexual needs. If a woman doesn't want sex and she has sex to shut a man up or make him behave nicely to her, then I would consider that the same as rape. She doesn't want sex. No or I'm not in the mood and don't feel like it is crystal clear. The woman doesn't want sex, therefore sex shouldn't happen, no matter what the other person wants".

Your H sounds like an emotionally abusive bully.

Mrscaindingle Sat 21-Sep-13 09:28:01

I'm watching this thread with interest as it sounds very much like my relationship with STBXH although he didn't used to shout at me about it (well once when he was drunk until 4 in the morning sad
But I do recognise the sulking ,making me feel like it was all my fault and never getting to feel like sex because my libido was swamped by his.

I am in the process of dealing with my marriage ending and the fall out from that ( he ended it btw) but am starting to feel relief that I will never have to have sex with him again to make him feel better.

Sometimes I would quietly despair that this was going to be my sex life forever.

BootleBumtrinket1 Sat 21-Sep-13 09:38:47

I don't usually reply to relationship type threads - not got the wisdom! However when I read this it made me feel so bleak and sad for you that I couldn't not.

This is awful and no way to live. He sounds horrible and no matter how he may be "a great dad/good DH/BFF" this whole sex issue would taint every bit of that until it was all shit for you. His demands that you do the work/keep him interested was nasty.

You should not have to turn cartwheels whilst sucking him off to ensure a good weekend. His behaviour is not normal. It is not acceptable. I wouldn't be able to live with it because it would poison everything - this demand you perform to keep him sweet.

Stay strong and look after yourself. Oh, and in my opinion, LTB

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 09:51:40

Sorry, I can't keep up with replies. I don't know where to start. I do feel more like a possession. He's got lots of issues mostly from growing up, his parents are a nightmare. It's as if he needs a nice wife, house, car and children to prove he's doing ok to the world. We split up for 6months last year and I honestly think his main concern was what everyone else would think. He didn't let me tell anyone the real reason we split (he was violent once so I said enough was enough.)

He's not been too bad since he got up but only because I went in and cuddled and was super nice. He's made me breakfast. But the thing is, he didn't ask if I wanted breakfast. I don't, I've already had toast. I wanted to get in the shower but he said 'I'm making you breakfast' and I know if I say oh actually I didn't want any he'll take it personally and make out I'm being shitty and then it'll tip the balance and he'll go back to being stroppy again.

I honestly don't think he actually plans stuff and is controlling on purpose. More that he is so immature and clueless and completely doesn't get what is normal behaviour. When we've talked about the sex issue before he honestly doesn't believe that its normal to not have completely regular gaurenteed sex when you're married. He thinks (and says) I'm weird because of it.

Sorry its taking me ages to reply its really good to talk about this stuff.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 09:55:44

mrscaindingle (your username makes me smile, I would agree with you....does that say something about our taste in men?!) I wish he would leave sometimes but that would never ever happen. He would never let it appear that he was anything other than a victim.

OxfordBags Sat 21-Sep-13 09:58:16

Ask yourself, OP, is it okay for him to be controlling, etc., if it's not intentional?! I mean, most other adults manage to not treat people loke shit the way he does. And, most importantly, the effects of his being controlling and horrible are the same on you and the DC whether he means it or not.

Although I do think there is intent behind it. He gets the pay-offs he wants from being a controlling shit.

Handywoman Sat 21-Sep-13 10:06:11

OP I'm sorry but this is abuse, it's much more about his sense of superiority and entitlement than it is about sex. I have left my XH for less overt behaviour and could not feel love for a man like this. Please start thinking about how you might eventually get out of this relationship because his views are deeply entrenched and are unlikely to change.

Squeegle Sat 21-Sep-13 10:14:24

Nothappy, your posts make me sad. My ex was a bit like this too. He used to be very controlling of me, very sulky, and I was constantly walking on egg shells to keep him from going off on one. (Mostly unsuccessfully I might add).

He also blamed me for not wanting sex with him. Used to sulk and call me frigid. (Nice),

I kind of believed the problem was with me. The reality was of course, that I just didn't fancy him any more cos he was so difficult with me.

For various reasons (including his increasing anger with me), we ended up splitting up. I am so liberated. And guess what, I have even been called passionate by a nice man I have been seeing.

Looking back I can see it all quite clearly. My ex was a tosser. I didn't want to have sex with him!

Good luck to you. It sounds like you need to find some strength. The issue isn't really about sex; it's about his attitude. Btw, for the record my ex had a v difficult childhood too. I let him get away with a lot cos of that. But in fact, I was being unfair on myself...

Xenadog Sat 21-Sep-13 10:16:16

OP, as you are in the middle of this relationship I don't believe you see his behaviour as dispassionately as the folks on here reading this thread do.

You had to have breakfast as he was cooking it and you didn't want to say no thanks as he would then turn it on you and be shitty and stroppy again. Do you know what you have just said? Basically you are treading on egg shells and giving into this bullying, controlling and manipulative tosser for a quiet life.

You are in the middle of this, it is your life and I guess you want this relationship to work in someway. The fact he has been violent in the past would be a deal breaker for many but I guess you feel it's better to be with him than without?

You have also made excuses for his bad behaviour so are enabling him to continue being abusive to you. And he IS being abusive.

The more I read about this man the less likely I feel you have any chance of having a decent relationship with him. I think you will leave him again, and for good, although this may take some time. I suggest you start to prepare the ground to leaving - it may be in months or years but I can't imagine how you can stay with this indefinitely. BTW what do friends and family think of his behaviour or do they not know what is going on?

BimboJimbo Sat 21-Sep-13 10:18:36

Your last post about having, nice car, house and children etc just described my DP sad Also the not being able to say anything about the breakfast.
We also have the exact same issues about sex.
Starting to question my own relationship after reading your replies on here.

So I don't have any advice but just wanted to say, I know exactly how you feel! I really hope it gets better for you!

Sorry for putting my problems on your thread

80sMum Sat 21-Sep-13 10:20:24

OP, this is the thin end of the wedge. Don't allow your husband to manipulate and control you in this way. He seems to be a very immature, insecure person and if you 'reward' his unacceptable behaviour he will only get worse.

Lahti Sat 21-Sep-13 10:20:46

OP I lived like this for 11 years and it was awful... I felt like I was just someone who didn't enjoy sex, but I did it just to prevent an atmosphere. I left him earlier this year.

nkf Sat 21-Sep-13 10:21:37

I know this relationship. I've been in it. It's hell. I really feel for you. It destroys your self respect and your boundaries. It took me ages to think it through and, yes, get out. Good luck.

talulahbelle Sat 21-Sep-13 10:22:29

He is behaving like an arse. If he needs 'release' that much he has hands doesn't he?
I sometimes have sex when I'm not totally in the mood - but only because I get just as much pleasure out of the closeness and caring and knowing how much DH wants me. By the end I'm normally into it as much as he is... DH would never insist in it though, and on occasion has had to stop mid shag if I decide things aren't happening for me.
You need some more conversations with your DH.

nkf Sat 21-Sep-13 10:23:07

I know it all. That having to eat food you don't want because otherwise he will shout. His trying to book a flight I wasn't sure I was going to need and then shouting at me because I never let him help me. Twisted twisted stuff. And you get all caught up in it and think you are the unreasonable one.

Lahti Sat 21-Sep-13 10:25:20

Op apologies as I'm just skim reading, but your post about breakfast rings alarm bells for me... the amount of times I had to eat something I didn't want just because he had been "thoughtful" was ridiculous... Thing is though if I didn't eat it I was ungrateful..., I was never right.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 10:26:31

I do think about how I could get out of it. The problem is that we were apart for 6 months last year and it was awful. The DC missed him SO much. He became super dad and when we spent any time together he was lovely and the DC were so much happier. Things have moved on, our life is so perfect now in terms of house, DC school etc. They are SO happy. They wouldn't understand why it was all happening again.

I know you shouldn't stay together for the children but I grew up with a dad who had a quick temper. Not abusive but we knew he had a short fuse because work was always so stressful. My mum did a lot of 'ahh leave your dad alone' type stuff which I find myself doing with my dc. To be honest now I'm an adult I think mum probably could've been a lot happier and it makes me sad for her. But looking back as a child would I have wanted them to separate? I really don't think I would've. It's a similar thing. The DC don't see the worst of it. I know they wouldn't want us to be apart. They only get one childhood and the least I can do is put up with a bit of crap to hold things together for them. They're my dc, I love them more than myself.

Flicktheswitch Sat 21-Sep-13 10:27:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Handywoman Sat 21-Sep-13 10:31:07

not I can totally identify with your remarks about needing the house/car/wife/kids to appear outwardly to be doing ok. STBXH and his mum/brother were verbally/emotionally abused. He behaved differently outside the house (friendly, polite, chatty, attentive to the kids) and inside the house (prostrate on the sofa, irritated by the kids, did nothing around the house, constantly suppressing anger). Home life was difficult, nothing made him happy ultimately. It got to the point when I could no longer pretend to myself and everyone that it was ok.

mcmooncup Sat 21-Sep-13 10:31:36

Another one who has been there and done this OP.
I just got a terrible sinking feeling when I read your OP about how the weekend is ruined. We used to have the exact same thing......I used to HATE Friday nights, just because I knew it was either compromise my entire value system and just do it or put up with hideous mood swings and put downs all weekend. Some choice eh?

It is simply a lose : lose situation. There is no winning, no changing of these men, no light at the end of the tunnel. This is it.

I know you have had a lot of LTB's already, and it seems such a big thing, but logically what are your options here?

You are dealing with a damaged abusive man who is gradually destroying your very being.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 10:31:46

nfk lahti I feel sad that he's so predictable. That's exactly how it is. sad

bimbojimbo don't say sorry. It's shite isn't it. How is it this isn't normal? This has been my life since I was 19.

Lahti Sat 21-Sep-13 10:32:54

I split with my H earlier this year and it has been hard. He has become Disney Dad and my DD does miss him, but she does see him a lot. However the final straw for me was when my DD spilled some toothpaste and said "Daddy will be cross" I realised that it was affecting her too.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 21-Sep-13 10:33:30

My DH works hard and does nothing in the house at all yet expects it to be clean and tidy. He barely knows where the supermarket is. But he makes me happy and is kind and doesn't raise his voice. He's far from perfect in Mnet's eyes but if he had ever behaved like your DH he would no longer be my DH.

I'm sorry you are going through this OP.

Handywoman Sat 21-Sep-13 10:33:34

.... abused by XH's father

mcmooncup Sat 21-Sep-13 10:33:44

OP - you said earlier that he puts you down in front of the DC's.
They will also be noticing his 'sex moods' this weekend.

This is not a happy home for them.

My home is peaceful now. The DC are a billion times happier. You may think they don't notice. That is the biggest myth of them all.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 10:33:46

handy mc I'm gutted. That is exactly my life. Exactly.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 21-Sep-13 10:34:08

NotHappy Do you have a daughter who;s going to grow up and also have a less happy life because she takes on the peace keeper role for everone else's sake? I find it so sad to keep on hearing of all these women who stay in unhappy relationships for their children's sake, whose mothers did the same, etc. And I just wonder - what women will ever get to lead fulfilling lives if this is the way of things? Please break the cycle for your children's sake. Stand up for your own right to a happy life.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 10:35:15

lahti dc do that too. sad sad

Lahti Sat 21-Sep-13 10:40:39

I didn't realise quite how bad it was for ages. One day I called a counsellor for advice (thinking she would tell me to communicate better with him). She listened to me telling her about how I wasn't allowed to drive to the shops as it was a waste of fuel, how I had eaten an egg to keep him quiet! (I cringe about that now), how he always went clothes shopping with me (he had an opinion on my wardrobe) etc etc and at the end I was crying and I said "I just don't know what to do" all she said was "you do know what you can do".

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 10:43:16

Your children may not want you to separate, but see how you are replicating your parents' marriage?
Your children may well go to similar relationships thinking it's normal.

It's not.

And it doesn't matter his issues or if on purpose. You are deeply unhappy.

Lahti Sat 21-Sep-13 10:43:43

The really sad thing though is that I justified his behaviour as being caring when in fact it was unbelievably controlling. My self esteem was in my boots and is going to take some time to repair, but honestly not one person has been surprised at my decision to leave.

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 21-Sep-13 10:47:12

He is an abusive, controlling wanker.

It is not fair to your children that they are growing up in a house where their mother has sex and eats food to appease their bully of a father.

You think they aren't seeing the worst of it. You are wrong.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 21-Sep-13 10:58:10

I was in a relationship like yours. I also found it hard to believe that healthy relationships as described on this thread existed.

4/5 years down the line, I've been in one for 3 years and we are getting married soon. Sex is fantastic! There is never any pressure. I can stop in the middle of DTD and say "Actually I don't feel like it right now". I am not expected to provide oral/hand jobs if I am not in the mood. He encourages me to ask/do what I want instead of taking a passive role (something that I STILL struggle with after all this time). He is involved with DC (who, of course, is not biologically his, but this doesn't matter to him). He cooks, cleans, without anything other than expectation that it's the role of both of us. We apologise for being slightly grumpy with the other. We barely ever argue and if we do we always end up discussing it properly and coming to a compromise. We are both in the relationship with the general assumption that the other puts in as much as they can while taking as much as they need, rather than putting in the minimum they need and taking as much as they can (which is probably your H's unconscious relationship view)

My parents split up when I was 6, BTW. Obviously I wanted them to stay together, all children do - but when I was older I could so much appreciate that both my mum and dad were happier - my dad remarried and was a totally different person. My mum didn't but she was able to grow and change in a way that (as an adult) I can see she wouldn't have done in a million years with my dad. As an adult I can see the relationship dynamic between them from things I've been told (from both sides) and I'm glad they split up when they did. I think that overall my childhood was happier with them apart than it would have been with them together. Plus, at the time I was not constantly thinking "It would be better if they got back together", I just accepted it as the way it was. Lots of families are divorced these days - it seems fairly normal to children, sad as that may be.

They only get one childhood, but they have a lifetime ahead of them and one day they will appreciate that life without him there was less stressful. They may not see it but they will be aware when things are strained between you, they will unconsciously pick up on having to appease him, they will most likely internalise the notion that a man has to be placated and that the world will revolve around him. If you have sons they will expect this in future adult relationships, if you have daughters, they will be attracted to men who behave like this and end up in the exact same position you are now.

IMO and E, the vast majority of controlling and/or abusive (emotional, verbal, not necessarily physical) men are not doing so in any way consciously. They either have really skewed expectations/assumptions about relationships, women, family, love, etc, they are following a warped template from childhood where all relationships are dysfunctional and it's more of a battle than a co-operation, or they are just very selfish and don't consider anyone else in the world, literally thinking the world revolves around them... it's not like they wake up and think "Ooh, how can I make the missus feel shit about herself today then?" - they just operate that way by default, and either don't know or don't care about the effect they're having on others. No amount of talking or pleading or trying to get him to see it from your POV will work because he is just built that way and it's a very stubborn exterior.

If he had the capacity to care how his behaviour was making you feel, it would not have got anywhere near this state. It's not going to go back to square one.

plantsitter Sat 21-Sep-13 11:00:43

My parents stayed together because of the children and looking back my dad was definitely EA (among other things).

You may have happy children. But if you want them to grow into happy adults they need to be able to look at and act upon their own needs and desires. Right now they are learning to gauge the mood of someone else and change their behaviour based entirely on that. This is likely to become a pattern in their adult lives.

I'm sorry. I think this would be different if YOU were happy. But you're not, are you?

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 21-Sep-13 11:03:34

I think there's a thread on here currently along the lines of "Did your parents stay together for the children?" which might have some interesting perspectives?

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 21-Sep-13 11:04:08
MushroomSoup Sat 21-Sep-13 11:04:47

It was hard last time you split because
1) you 'weren't allowed' to tell people why you'd split, meaning you didn't get the support you needed
2) you still did 'family stuff' together - WTF??!! - instead of putting the boundary in place and letting him be 'Disney dad' in his own time

I don't think your kind of split means the same as a split for most of us on here.

BimboJimbo Sat 21-Sep-13 11:49:05

Exactly the same as you! This has been my life since I was 19 too! I don't know any different. This is my first relationship. I also have two children and couldn't imagine splitting up our family. I couldn't take my children from their father. They adore him.

nkf Sat 21-Sep-13 11:49:57

My weekends are heaven now. No sinking feeling on Friday night. No crying on Saturday morning while I was harangued about not providing sex/not providing good enough sex/not requesting sex etc.

The children are with him this weekend and they will have a lovely time. And next weekend, they will be with me and we will have a lovely time. And right now, I am having a lovely time lying in bed looking at the trees outside my window and drinking coffee.

Don't assume that your life needs to be all suffering. I made that assumption and it's not true. Not true at all.


re your comment:-

"Exactly the same as you! This has been my life since I was 19 too! I don't know any different. This is my first relationship. I also have two children and couldn't imagine splitting up our family. I couldn't take my children from their father. They adore him".

He took advantage of your own lack of life experience. You as well do not adore your H.

This is no relationship model for your children to emulate; how would you feel if they repeated the same patterns as you have?. You'd likely feel crap.

Your children as well I would argue do not adore their dad if they see and hear their mother being so roundly abused. They both fear and hate him in equal measure and wonder why you put up with it. They will not thank you for staying, there are no awards handed out for being a martyr.

RandomMess Sat 21-Sep-13 12:02:32

You have married someone like your father, if you have daughters they will end up marrying someone like your H and be as unhappy as you are.


OxfordBags Sat 21-Sep-13 12:16:04

OP, your childhood taught you to normalise abusive, inreasonable behaviour from a man and now look where you are. So any daughters you have are now being trained exactly the same way. Would you want them to be treated this way? If not, then it is up to YOU to do something about it. And also, ask yourself if you wouldn't want them to be treated like this, how come it's okay for you to be treated like this?!

Of COURSE your Dc appeared so happy. They have been trained to appear super enthusiastic, appreciative and cheerful to appease daddy and try to maintain his good moods as much as possible. You have trained them this way. They know they have to push down their real feelings, needs and personalities in order to keep him sweet. They know that their lives must revolve around daddy's moods, that they can't be their real selves, flaws and neediness and all. You and your Oh have trained them this way. Also, if their dad is so petulant and moody often, then they will genuinely be happy and relieved when he is in a good mood, obviously. Children in homes where there is abuse will often appear very happy, because they have learnt to put on a false front. Also, children with a parent who abuses either them or their mother (or both), learn to appear to adore the abusive parent, because it is a defence mechanism to deflect the attention of his moods and nastiness away from them. It's like courtiers grovelling to an unstable king to avoid falling out of favour.

And all this appeasing his moods is abuse of them too. Just like you suffered the exact same abuse. You are replicating the abuse in your own home, and guess what your Dc are going to do... ?

Doing something apparently nice for you, like making you breakfast, but brooking no refusal 'or else' is a very cruel and mindfucking form of control and abuse, because it's you who looks bad for refusing a supposed generous act. Believe me, this man knows what he is doing alright.

BimboJimbo Sat 21-Sep-13 12:44:39

Meerkat, I suppose I know this but haven't admitted it to myself yet.
More than anything in this world, I want to protect them!
As a child I used to sit and cover my ears so I could try and block out the arguments from my parents.
Watching my mum hit my dad on several occasions.
I now as an adult realise how it actually affected me.
Did I have a happy childhood? No!
I used to wish they would split up so the arguing would stop!
Parents were always happier apart. I'm happier too when doing it alone.
And now I'm doing the same to my children, and I'm slowly realising that! I more than anything do not want to do this to them!
I have issues regarding my past that are now slowly showing themselves.
Mentally I need to get strong and stop this!
It's just when I'll feel ready.
Sorry I've done it again 'not happy' , just your thread has hit a raw nerve

mypussyiscalledCaramel Sat 21-Sep-13 13:00:45

My EX husband was exactly like that, when it came to sex. Although we had a fantastic sexlife to start with.

He used to like going to bed nekkid so that he could have sex when he wanted it.

I got to the point where I was wearing pj's just so he would leave me alone.

All through our relationship he was EA, but it wasn't until he hit our 2 year old that I woke up. It took me a couple of months to sort out an escape, but not before I had a complete mental breakdown.

He promised me the earth when I left him and when that didn't work he tried to commit suicide, I tried to help him get back on his feet, but after that, there was NO WAY I was getting back with him.

His son and I haven't seen him for 5 years now and I am just beginning to get over the depression that he caused.

You are not a possession, you are a human being with feelings and if he can't see that, its his problem not yours.

My oldest DS was badly affected by his stepdad, but its only within the last 2 years that he has told me certain things that happened to him. Fortunately he is a happy well adjusted boy, except for being a bit jumpy when someone lifts their hand suddenly. My youngest doesn't remember what life was like back then, which is good. But even at 2 when we were in the middle of it all he had enough sense not to mess about indoors.

notnagging Sat 21-Sep-13 13:03:29

My husband used to be a bit like this but not as emotionally abusive. He's trying to manipulate you so you will give in. Tell him to grow up. Has he not considered that if he wasn't so selfish you might be up for it more? Very childish.

Handywoman Sat 21-Sep-13 13:10:34

not your children want you to stay together. Of course they do. Just like they want Father Christmas to bring them everything on their Christmas list and sweets on tap. Not that children need to be hardened to the realities of adult life, OP, but you can see they are not yet fully formed adults and the responsibility for their long term emotional wellbeing, and yours (the two being very closely linked) rests with you. Please don't feel guilty for acting in their best interests.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 13:24:51

bimbo please don't apologise, I know how it feels, other threads have had a similar effect on me. It's scary but please chat away. Starting your own thread sometimes feels like too big a step.

I'be got 2 girls. I hate the thought that I'm ruining the potential for them to have healthy future relationships. I just don't even know where to start. He's made it clear he would never leave again and I have no way of getting some where else to live. He also wouldn't compromise on how often he sees the DC. He would only accept 50/50 at the least. I could accept that but don't even really know what that means.

I have issues about my past too. Before DH I was in a horribly abusive relationship for 2 years. It ruined me and I'm not sure I ever recovered. DH kind of rescued me from that and the only way I really broke free was by getting together with him. I feel like mentally I'm exhausted from it all.

Please read what Oxford said she's spot on. The children are learning that their needs are less important than daddy's. This is the message that they will carry through to adult relationships. They will replicate the dynamic that you are currently living.

No child would prefer their parents to divorce if you asked them, it doesn't mean it wouldn't be right for them.

NotHappyEither Sat 21-Sep-13 14:07:13

He's being so miserable. This is crap. I'm glad dc are at gp's tonight. I just want to scream at him to stop being so pathetic. It's so annoying. If we'd had sex last night we would be getting ready for a lovely evening but now its just going to be awkward and horrible and when he's had a drink he'll be an even bigger bastard. I've been looking forward to tonight for months.

LEMisdisappointed Sat 21-Sep-13 14:11:42

Your job to turn him on?

You wont be able to stay out tonight now?

Fuck that!!!

I am not sure but i think i may have posted on one of your threads before about how sex is good for relationships and that me and DP are both happier when we are having regular sex but after reading your OP - im with those who are saying LTB. Your JOB?? really? yuck

OxfordBags Sat 21-Sep-13 14:23:33

He's being so miserable. This is crap. I'm glad dc are at gp's tonight. I just want to scream at him to stop being so pathetic. It's so annoying <remove specifics about sex> its just going to be awkward and horrible and when he's had a drink he'll be an even bigger bastard. I've been looking forward to tonight for months.

OP, do you not think those very words entered your own mother's head a thousand times throughout your childhood, judging by your description of it? She thought it, you think it, and guess who else will grow up to think it...

Your childhood primed you to believe that your needs must be subsumed for the man of the house, that you are responsible for keeping him happy or not. It led you into not one, but two abusive relationships. It trained you to fall for a man v much like your own father, repeating the patterns your mother did, making your daughters behave how you had to.

You need to ask yourself - how can this NOT train your daughters to be victims of abuse when they are adults?! This dynamic is virtuslly guaranteeing the same relationship misery and debasement that you suffer and have suffered. If they have no other model for what is normal, how on arth can they turn out not to be future victims?!

Please, please, break the cycle for them. Do not knowingly allow them - because you know it, you know it - to become the next generation of women who are treated like shit, like fuck puppets, controlled and demeaned. He is totally to blame for the abuse in the home, but you are equally responsible for keeping them in an environment shich could damage them for life. It's not fair that his abuse makes you responsible that way, but that's how things are.

A final point: when a man is sexually creepy and controlling to his partner, children always pick up on that, even though they don't understand it at all, or know any details. This is a further layer of psychic scarring.

Lweji Sat 21-Sep-13 14:23:49

Are your children at your or his parents?

Who will pick them up tomorrow?

Xenadog Sat 21-Sep-13 14:45:36

OP forgive me if you have said this already but have you ever spoken to your mum about all of this and even asked her about her relationship with your dad? I wonder what her advice to you would be?

PauseAndRewind Sat 21-Sep-13 16:20:09

So will he just be a cock to you all evening in front of your friends and will you spend the evening having to excuse his behaviour? Wouldn't it be better to go on your own or will that just make things worse?

How can you possibly spend your life like this? Don't you see how awful his behaviour is?

iwantanafternoonnap Sat 21-Sep-13 18:31:24

My mum stayed with my wanker of a father until we were all grown up and it was the worst thing she could have done. It ruined my self esteem because we were always worried about his moods etc. I have never really had a healthy relationship and I am now 40 because I have always gone for men similar to my dad. Plus I don't know what a healthy relationship is!

Don't stay with him as he is an utter arsehole and will damage your girls outlook on life. He did not rescue you he saw your vulnerability and exploited it for his own good. Get out for your sake and your children.

ageofgrandillusion Sun 22-Sep-13 08:57:23

Stay with this man OP and your life - and that of your kids - is very, very clearly mapped out. Misery and stress for you; repeating your patterns of behaviour and miserable lives for your children, including the kind of fucked up, soul destroying relationships you are in. I think you know you have to start thinking very carefully about how you can exit this 'relationship' asap. It is possible.

Dearjackie Sun 22-Sep-13 10:01:20

Been there done that too. He is also an EX now. The relationship seemed to revolve around sex and for 4 years I felt I was constantly treading on eggshells regarding his moods if we didn't have sex. I knew he used to plan ahead and think well there won't be a chance later /tomorrow/tonight or whatever and be in a mood, sulk or nasty if we didn't do it

I will never take that from anyone again

Handywoman Sun 22-Sep-13 10:09:56

How did the evening go, OP?

MoreThanWords Sun 22-Sep-13 13:03:59

Dearjackie - you have to have lived it it believe it don't you hmm. Yours sounds the same as mine was - if he didn't get it at night I had to 'plan' to be up early next morning, or make sure he didn't ambush me in the shower, then knew he would expect it at night or the sulking would begin.

He would even engineer coming home at lunchtime to chance his luck. Makes my skin crawl to think about it. And don't get me started on him engineering sex before he gave me maintenance money after we had separated shockshockshockshock wtaf was I thinking.

I despair of myself that I couldn't tell him no at the time.

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 13:11:32

I too despair of my past actions. I can't believe I was that person. The sad thing is it makes me very nervous of having another relationship. I don't trust my boundaries.

Handywoman Sun 22-Sep-13 13:26:28

I'm the same nkf extremely stressed at the idea if future relationships because I have no radar for shitty behaviour.

NotHappyEither Sun 22-Sep-13 15:15:04

Well the evening turned out ok. He was horrible up to the very last minute then just as we got to the door he said, I'm sorry let's not make a thing of it, we don't want people thinking we've got problems again. Kissed me and in we went. He wasn't relaxed though and to start with I felt edgy.

As the night went on lots of friends picked up on his attitude, I tried to play it down. Then I drank quite a lot of wine and decided that actually I was going to enjoy myself and sod him. We ended up having big words and he actually seemed really upset and that he hadn't realised how bad things had got again. He wanted to go home, I put my foot down and said no I was staying. And he actually went home! In ten years he's never 'left me to it' I've always had to leave early with him or go to bed when he wants etc.

I had a great night overall. He's been extra extra nice today, said he was going to work on all the things that he's been letting slide. Has made me feel quite sorry for him actually. I don't know, he says he knows he went back on the no pressure over sex thing. He knows he was out of order acting like he did all day yesterday because of Friday night.

This is the thing, he is better than he used to be. Much better. And although its taken 10 years we are actually getting to a point where the emotional rollercoasters are shorter. Whenever you read about abusive relationships it always says, abuse usually gets worse over time. But actually in our case it has in very tiny amounts got better over time in some ways. So I wonder if its just taking him time to learn about good relationships work. If I give up on this I'll probably just have to start all over again with someone else.

Sorry for rambling! smile

mammadiggingdeep Sun 22-Sep-13 15:24:50

Or you could meet somebody who you don't have to train to be kind to you? Xx

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Sun 22-Sep-13 15:31:40

Gosh, so in another 10 years he might even behave in a reasonable manner.

piratecat Sun 22-Sep-13 15:35:23

and that's an evening that turned out ok?


he controlled the entire thing, can't you see that????

piratecat Sun 22-Sep-13 15:36:50

he's being extra nice because you put your foot down op.

he will go for it big time next time you upset him, because he doesn't change and is an arsehole. my god, i can't believe it.

HeySoulSister Sun 22-Sep-13 15:38:47

Your poor kids. He's been violent as well you said?

Take a long hard look at what you are doing here ( do you know?) and think 'long term'

I'm shocked you think you can stay and your dc won't be picking up on all this crap

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 15:51:54

That is an okay evening is it? Putting on a performance in front of others, drinking lots and thinking sod him, going home separately and now you feel sorry for him. Here's the thing. For many people, that is a shit evening. A good evening is fun and laughter and cuddles and kindness. Not thinking phew, could have been worse.

NotHappyEither Sun 22-Sep-13 16:08:21

I know sad I'm just as bad as he is. I know its unhealthy. I was looking at other couples last night and it makes me so sad. I'd love to be with someone where it wasn't an effort, where there's no hidden agendas.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 22-Sep-13 16:14:14



He hasn't got better, he's got more effective at crushing you. You're going to be punished severely for standing up to him; the Mr. Nice Guy was a test to see if you were going to row back on your attitude. Which you did, so he knows you're not going to keep pushing.

Did you know that other husbands can spot the abuse? Not from his behaviour, but from yours. Last night you were overtly assertive, but there will have been tension in your voice, your stance, your face. His attitude was obvious; you might be able to withstand the contempt for him, but can you bear the pity for you?

You have again ended up with someone just like your Dad was to your mother as a child; abusive.

You've managed to get away from one abusive ex and you can get away from this man this time also, you have to take the first, often the most hardest of steps, to leave. You went basically from one Grade 8 Fuckwit to a Grade 7 Fuckwit but the commonality here is that the men you have seen to date are all abusive. I reckon all these men have something else in common as well; their quick temper.

You can and must break this cycle for your girls; what they are currently learning about relationships here is how to each be a victim to emotional abusers as adults. How would you feel if one or both of your DDs ended up in a going nowhere relationship like yours, devastated I would think. However, you are currently doing your own bit to show them that this treatment of you on some level is acceptable to you. Your mother taught you a lot of damaging stuff as well, you probably talk to your DDs as your mother did to you re your Dad.

Re this comment of yours;-
"The DC don't see the worst of it. I know they wouldn't want us to be apart. They only get one childhood and the least I can do is put up with a bit of crap to hold things together for them. They're my dc, I love them more than myself".

You do not love yourself, that is completely obvious even from your writings alone. Easy prey therefore for such types. Your current H did not so much rescue you as took advantage of your inherent low self esteem and worth. He therefore saw an opportunity.

You are also absolutely "not putting up with a bit of crap" from him. You are being abused and on a daily basis to boot. You only get one childhood, yours was ruined by your parents and now history is repeating itself with your children. Their childhood is also being ruined just as yours was. I am sorry that is harsh to read but you need to read it all the same.

I would also suggest NotHappyEither that you enrol yourself on Womens Aid Freedom Programme. They could teach you a lot.

"This is the thing, he is better than he used to be. Much better. And although its taken 10 years we are actually getting to a point where the emotional rollercoasters are shorter. Whenever you read about abusive relationships it always says, abuse usually gets worse over time".

As is the case here and he also manipulated last night to his total advantage. Other people in your social circle are likely onto him and wonder of you why you are together at all given his behaviours. Body language is highly instructive.

Custardo Sun 22-Sep-13 16:35:26

everyone else has pretty much said what needs saying regarding controlling behaviour/ not your fault etc.

however i though i needed to point out this
I honestly haven't got it in me to roll around for hours with someone who doesn't really care as long as he gets off

my counter argument to him wanting lots of sex would be
"I might want lots of sex too if you were any good at making me come, why don't you fucking google it or something"

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 17:17:29

OP i have just skim read the last 2 pages, but you say that it has got a tiny bit better over the last 10 years. My STBXH was awful for the 1st 5 years of our marriage and I asked him to leave. He agreed to go to RELATE with me (I really regret that now) and we stayed together and I thought his behaviour was better. The thing is though I still felt awful but couldn't work out why (I thought I was ungrateful as he had stopped yelling and calling me names). In hindsight his methods of EA just changed from overt to more covert methods, especially after we had DD and I was so sleep deprived that I doubted my own mind. I took me another 5 years to leave.

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 17:22:00

I remember that. You are so grateful they aren't being absolutely vile, that you think being unpleasant is okay. Mine used to slam doors if the sex wasn't right. Slam. Bang. Glare. When he stopped (after Relate etc) and became whiny, it felt like an improvement.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 17:29:54

nkf it's absolutely soul destroying isn't it? I was told that there must have been something wrong with me and had I considered that I may actually be gay. I also wasn't spontaneous enough. Once when I was trying so hard to keep us together and we had sex I asked if he felt it was better. He just looked at me and said "No, I can tell you didn't really want it"
I was distraught and doubled my efforts to please him. sad

NotHappyEither Sun 22-Sep-13 17:36:54

Yes we also did relate last year. He made all kinds of promises. He really seemed like he'd understood and he did change a lot. He's more aware of when he's being unreasonable although obviously not completely.

nfk your post is scarily accurate actually. That's exactly how things have changed. Why have I been so oblivious to this? I'm usually quite sensible and level headed believe it or not.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 17:46:57

He has always been aware that he is unreasonable, the difference now is that he knows that you won't accept that kind if behaviour as a outside specialist (RELATE) have said he shouldn't do it either. When I left for the final time he started counselling on his own but when he realised I wasn't going to take him back he immediately stopped as it was immediately going to benefit him.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 17:49:08

Wasn't immediately not was. #phone

StackOverflow Sun 22-Sep-13 17:49:39

My H was like that. And of course doing it just so I could have my peace and quiet was never good enough either. I was supposed to bloody want and enjoy it, too!

I think it was the latter part that really got me in the end, his need to control not just what I did but how I felt about it, too.

We're about to be divorced now, thank goodness!

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 17:57:12

I know. Digging away at your responses until you don't even know your own feelings.

NotHappyEither Sun 22-Sep-13 17:57:47

Yes DH told me he'd gone to anger management while we were apart but actually I'm pretty sure now he lied about it. He only ever does anything if he can see what's in it for him. He cannot understand when I do things for people or help people out (unless it's him!) for no gain, just to be nice. It makes no sense to him.

NotHappyEither Sun 22-Sep-13 18:01:33

Yes I hate that. It's not good enough to have sex, I have to really want it. I've become so good at pretending I can't imagine how truly amazing it would feel to have sex with someone and really want it. To be able to look them in the eyes and be connected to them and know that you're with them and you want them.

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 18:28:01

Did you like it? Did you like it more than the other time? I got the feeling that you liked it less? And on and on and on.

StackOverflow Sun 22-Sep-13 18:35:31

It's not my fault, you're just so fucking sexy! And you make me feel bad when you make me feel you don't want it as much as me, because you're just so fucking sexy, after all! So you really should be up for it or else I'll feel miserable and blame it on you ...

The word 'sexy' actually feels uncomfortable to me now.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 18:44:37

"it's natural and normal.... I can't help it" said while groping you at the kitchen sink for the nth time that day. Door slams when you are irritated by it.

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 18:45:47

I can't bear the idea of being thought sexy. That's sad isn't it?

NotHappyEither Sun 22-Sep-13 18:54:22

Yes yes and yes. You are all describing DH completely.

nfk lahti stack can I ask how things have gone since you separated? How did he react? How did you go about it? I think DH would not be willing to walk away from the family home and knowing him if he actually believed this was it he will probably get pretty mean over everything.

nkf Sun 22-Sep-13 19:02:04

If you pm me, I will try to answer. I did type out something, but it felt too personal.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 19:09:48

I opened my own bank account in secret a month before I asked him to leave. Next I got a notebook and wrote down all the things that he had done that seemed a bit "off". I remember thinking that it seemed like trivial stuff, but I read thru it again 6 months later and I just can't believe how I was living.
Eventually after living in near panic for 6 weeks as I knew I had to leave, he just blew up at me and demanded to know what was wrong with me. I just said that I was scared of him and I couldn't cope with his behaviour anymore. He was really shocked said he would try harder. I then rang a counsellor. While I was talking for (50 mins) I said I think he needs to move out so that I can think straight. She said that was the 1st time in the conversation that I had sounded sure of myself. He refused to move out at 1st, but eventually he did a month later. He then threatened to throw me out etc as I had no right to go this (he lives with his mum). He then promised me the earth to take him back holidays etc etc. as soon as he realised I was serious he stopped and became very businesslike and he started with texting and emailing all the time threatening me to stop me moving from the area. He has ridiculed me for using a solicitor for everything, but my boundaries are so shot that I couldn't trust myself to negotiate with him. It has been hard especially as I am isolated from my family, but my ivorce should be through this week.... it has taken 5 months.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 19:11:34

Sorry typing on phone with DD on my knee.

Lahti Sun 22-Sep-13 19:13:21

Feel free to pm me too.

Wellwobbly Sun 22-Sep-13 19:20:19

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CL: I really enjoyed your books. Before I read your work, I had read several books on narcissistic personality disorder and what rang false to me, based on my personal experience, was that narcissists have low self-esteem or can’t deal with shame. Your books were so refreshing by contrast — as you argue some people are disordered, that it’s an issue of character, and that traditional therapeutic strategies aren’t very effective.

Can you speak a bit about your practice, and your experience dealing with disordered people? Are they compensating?
GS: In both my books, I try and make the distinction between people who are for the most part “neurotic” and people who are character disturbed. It’s a continuum. On the one end, we have people who in the past would have been labeled “neurotic.” These are folks who are struggling with anxieties and insecurities that are largely unconscious to them. They have “issues” that they never fully resolved. These issues cause them anxiety. Sometimes they “compensate” for underlying insecurities and they really don’t know they’re doing it. And there’s always some symptom that goes with the anxiety accompanying their neurosis – fingernail biting, difficulty meeting people, or establishing relationships, for example.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have folks who are more disturbed in character – and frankly, they’re not very neurotic at all. And they lack the anxiety neurotics have. And what’s happened in our times is that most neurotics are not pathologically dysfunctional anyway. They’re just hung up and fretful enough to have qualms about things and make society work. They’re very functional people, generally. They do not have the kind of maladies that afflicted people in the Victorian era, when Freud came up with his theories. Back then people had bizarre maladies that couldn’t be explained. This extreme neurosis is what psychologists use to treat. From that, they came to some conclusions about what makes people tick and the role of neurosis in people’s mental health.
These old models are still with us. Change is slow. Many, including therapists, still adopt traditional points of view — so when presented with someone with a character disorder, they’ll say to themselves that person is compensating for something — that deep below they must have low self-esteem or insecurities they’re struggling with.
If someone takes this approach, the character disordered person isn’t going to get much help — and it’s not likely they’re going to get any better.

CL: Chump Lady is a blog about infidelity. If someone finds themselves cheated on, and it’s a longstanding pattern of lies, deceit and living a double life, should they consider that they might be with someone character or personality disorder?
Is it a matter of degree? I wonder if anyone can act this way over a period of years and NOT be disordered.
GS: You know, everybody lies sometimes. A friend might ask you how she looks in a dress, and you may lie. But the reason that you lie usually says something about your character, and often in a good way. You don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings. So you might fudge a bit on the truth.
But the kind of lying that disordered people do is different. Not only the reason they do it, but the many crafty ways they do it. The most artful liars can lie by stating a series of perfectly true things — keeping out just one small crucial detail, which would shed an entirely new light on things. So, they lie artfully.
The other thing that distinguishes a character disordered person is why they lie. Usually, good neurotics want to understand why people lie. They want to understand the underlying motives. What would make a person act this way? We rack our brains trying to understand why we’re being duped. But the ultimate reason disordered people lie is to maintain a position of advantage over someone else. If you’re in the dark, and you don’t know that you’re being deceived, then they have the upper hand and can have their way with you.
Remember, their goal is always to keep you in the one-down position. And the ways the disordered person can lie to keep you in that position can be quite artful.
CL: If someone is engaging in an affair, the why is maintaining the secret life, the narcissistic supply of cheating. So if they’re telling lies to throw you off their cheating, (lying in a disordered way), does that make them disordered?
GS: You always have to look for the telltale signs of character disturbance, and lying is one of those signs. There are several others. In my book “Character Disturbance” I outline the other signs to look for.
We live in a character disturbed age. We have so many folks who lack character and just don’t grow up. Sometimes they grow up in their 50, 60s, or even 70s. Sometimes they never do.
When people are showing the signs of character disorder, it is important to not listen to the things that they say. I know this sounds odd, but I learned this during my research. Therapists would work with disordered clients and realize they weren’t making headway. They would listen like they were trained to listen. Therapists are trained to be warm, empathic, accommodating and trusting. Because you assume a person has come to share and get advice from you.
But that’s not true with character disorders. Usually, they’ve been dragged there by their ear by someone whose life they’re making miserable. It’s not the same thing [as coming to the therapist for advice]. So if you listen to them and take what they say at face value, you’re already likely to be taken in, but you just don’t know it yet. With character disorders, you can’t just listen to what they say — instead, you have to listen “for” the kinds of things they say — the kinds of tactics they use — and keep a watchful eye out for the signs that might suggest you’re being played.
CL: Do people with character disorders want to be better? I would think that gaming the system and getting goodies without reward is pretty hard to give up. What’s in it for them? If you had a serial cheater as a client, how would you treat them versus a traditional therapeutic approach?
GS: It’s not as simple as being neurotic versus being character disordered. There is a continuum. There’s a little bit of neurosis in just about everyone. In some people there is none. In psychopaths — these are the folks whose have ice water in their veins — they pathologically lack any adaptive anxiety. They’re not afraid of anything. This is chilling. They’re not amenable at all to traditional approaches.
*But most character disturbed people have some way to reach them. And sometimes they have a degree of appreciation for not only the error of their ways, but how it could be better if they were different. Sometimes they even appreciate someone else getting it — that they need to change. So many times when they come into a traditionally minded therapist office and play their game and their therapist misperceives them. “Oh, this poor compensating, inadequate person!” the therapist is thinking. But under their breath, the disordered person is chuckling — this “shrink” is going to be a pushover.
But if somebody’s calls them on their issues, really calls them on it and asks them something like: “Have you ever experienced any kind of disaster in a relationship because of how inflated your opinion is of yourself?…. If someone dares to say something like that to them — it gets their attention.* And you know what? They probably have an example! When they can share that and talk honestly with someone about how maybe this isn’t such a good thing, there’s room for discussion. You can’t ask such a question mean spiritedly. But you have to cut to the chase. And what generally happens in that moment, is that for the first time the possibility of real trust occurs. Because the person dealing with them will meet them at the plane in which they function, as opposed to playing nice, seeing things through rose-colored glasses, and sending the signal that they can be played.
CL: What would you advised someone who has been cheated on? Not to play nice because you’re going to get duped?
GS: When confronting [a character disordered person], I might ask *“have you ever encountered a situation that ended badly because of the inflated way you think of yourself?” — the way it is said doesn’t have to be hostile, or uncivil. It can be perfectly benign but direct. And honest. Brutally honest, *but no hostile intent.
It’s not about not playing nice, [confrontation] doesn’t have to be vindictive. Just has to be direct and completely honest.
CL: For people who are on the receiving end of bad behavior by character disordered people, is it better to constantly to be the marriage police and gently confront them when they step out of line? If you’re neurotic, you’re buying books for them on Amazon and trying to help them figure themselves out.
GS: *I think that would be a total waste of time because it assumes something that is patently untrue. It assumes that what they need is insight. I make that point in my book. We live under this delusion! Therapists do this all the time! They think they are going to be the person who says just the right thing in just the right way, so that this time a light bulb is going to go off in this person’s mind and all of a sudden — they will understand and “see” the error of their ways! The problem is, they already understand!
It’s not that the cheater or disturbed character doesn’t know what they’re doing and what damage comes from it. If the wounded party is crying their heart out and is miserable, it’s not like you don’t know what you’ve done and what an effect it has had! It’s right there.
Character disordered people are not stupid people. They’re contrary people. They know what the rules are, they know what the expectations are. But they haven’t made the decision in their heart to play by the rules that you want them to play by.* That’s a matter of the heart. So, like I’ve said over and over in countless workshops:
They already see but they just disagree. A little rhyming phrase I use a lot. I can’t say it enough! Therapists make the same mistake!
And they’ll change only when the cost of their behavior rises too high, the benefits of doing something different becomes more clear, that’s when they’ll change. It’s not that people can’t or won’t change. It’s under what circumstances they’ll be motivated to change. What you need to do if you’re in a relationship with someone like this is set those limits and enforce those boundaries! You must set the terms of engagement! You can’t trust them to do it. When there is a clear cost to continuing their crazy behavior, there will perhaps be some incentive to change.
You can define the terms of engagement. The problem for neurotic folks is they don’t like operating in that mode. It’s not natural for them. It feels to them like they’re being a hard [ass], like they’re being too selfish. They have all these ideas about how inappropriate it is to start calling some shots! *But asserting your needs and enforcing the limits is just what you have to do.
CL: Are some people more prone to being manipulated than others? What makes people a mark?
GS: People with a conscience are especially good marks.* There are certain tactics that I outline in “In Sheep’s Clothing.” Favorite [tactics] like “shaming” and “guilt-tripping” cannot possibly work on someone without a conscience or unless that conscience is pretty active. You must have the capacity to feel guilt. If you don’t feel shame, there is no way an invitation to shame or guilt can work with you. Of course there are people who are more vulnerable to manipulation – it’s the decent folks. It’s because they have a high level of conscientiousness. There are others who are vulnerable, too.
CL: What do you make of the neuroscience around NPD and sociopaths? Did you read the New York Times article on psychopaths as children and “callous unemotional” traits as being inherited? Do you think that some people are… well, neurologically handicapped to be disordered? Is it dangerous to expect them to get better and change — if they literally don’t have empathy synapses?
GS: This research is in its infancy. We just don’t know. Some folks seem to have empathy deficits built into their wiring. There is something wrong, but we don’t know enough yet. We really don’t. Just because the brains of psychopaths work differently when you study them doesn’t necessarily mean those brains were different from birth. The degree of empathy deficiency and the degree to which it is strictly part of the programming versus a developmental issue [is unclear].

Wellwobbly Sun 22-Sep-13 19:26:31

Sorry, terrible c&p but the points he makes (that a good counsellor should call him on the fact that HE makes HIS life worse), that you need to provide boundaries and consequences, and that the very real threat that he might lose his family 'could' tip him into controlling himself....

was worth repeating. But report if it is crp/illegal, sorry.

Lweji Sun 22-Sep-13 20:23:26

Ah, the cycle of abuse.
He knows you got closer to leaving again and is tried to make it better.

It's still there and he's not worried about you:
He's worried about other people.

As others said, he's still abusing you. Only now you're grateful and happy that it's not as bad (as you perceive it) as before.

You're still not happy, though, are you?

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 22-Sep-13 20:57:14

In one of your early posts you said broadly that the weekend is ruined for the kids and you could have made it better. Are you actually saying that you should have forced yourself to have sex with him so that he wouldn't be horrible to your children. Do you realise how fucked up that is?
I'm sorry op. What a horrible situation.

NotHappyEither Mon 23-Sep-13 07:52:45

Goodmorning. Thank you well that was interesting reading. I think a lot of what that says rings very true.

Lweji no, I'm not happy. I feel like I could keep plodding on a bit longer but not happy. I think that's been true for a long time. Measuring things on how much I can keep going, not how happy I am.

lahti Thank you for your post, I can imagine DH acting the same way. It was very similar last time, except I caved at the making all the promises stage. Like you, I think the only way forward would be to use some kind of solicitor or something. I don't trust myself anymore. My biggest problem is money. I gave up my job to start uni (tomorrow) and so don't qualify for tax credits. I will have to try and get another one I think. I don't want to give up my uni place unless I absolutely have to as it will mean being able to support myself financially better in the future. If I get even a small part time job hopefully I would qualify for some income support as well. Do you think it is unrealistic to plan for after christmas? Last time we separated it was all rushed and I think that was part of the problem. I had no plan. I feel like I need to be more in control of the situation? A few more months so that I can do this properly this time.

nfk Thank you I completely understand. I will try to pm you. (Not done it before smile)

Someone asked before if I had spoken to my mum. Weirdly never before really. We've always been there for each other and especially as I've got older she has talked more to me when my df has been pissing her off being unreasonable. I've been able to see for years what a pain in the ass he can be but they always work it out. The other day though I had quite a telling conversation with her. I told her that I hate that I find myself telling the girls to 'leave dad alone' 'don't wind your dad up' etc etc and that I remember things being like that at home when I was younger and I didn't want my dc to put up with that. She agreed that it wasn't acceptable. Later, she'd obviously been thinking about it because she told me that she would do anything she could to support me through uni. Not to give up no matter what because then I would be able to look after myself one day if DH wasn't around. She said that she'd never paid a bill in her life or arranged anything to do with the house, she wouldn't know how to cope on her own, (she's never worked, always stayed at home and just run around after df) but she wants us to be able to. She doesn't want us to have to rely on someone.

I think deep down she knows. I think if she 'did it all again' things might be different if she knew what she knows now. But she has what she considers a good life and I think she believes it's too late for her. I think it's sad though that she always hopes and is still hoping that one day the things he agrees he's going to do he might actually stick to. Also, slightly off topic but she's suffered from depression on and off for years. I was reading another thread the other day and it mentioned people who had been on AD's for years, then came out of a relationship and found that the depression disappeared. It struck me that my mums depression is (I think) strongly linked to my dads unreasonable behaviour and in turn her general unhappiness with her life and how little control she has over it. I bet her depression would disappear if she didn't have to put up with that. (That makes me want to cry actually.) I love my mum.

Sorry this is so long. Couldn't get on last night and have been churning stuff over in my head all night.

Hmm, what are the chances of you, your mum and the girls setting up together? It's a bit pie-in-the-sky but worth keeping your options open...

Lahti Mon 23-Sep-13 08:36:20

Hi I used to get really stressed out if I didn't have a plan, but since starting this process I have chilled out a lot. My solicitor is fantastic £250 per hour but worth it. I have discovered that I need to stop reacting to his actions and put myself and DD first ALWAYS. My parents were away for 3 months when I did it but I just couldn't wait any longer... I told my sisters while it was happening and they were relieved but shocked at how abusive he was.
People really do notice what is happening to you. My sisters both commented on I now dress differently. Another thing that they did was that my STBXH and I always asked for vouchers etc for Xmas and birthdays. They realised that he was the one who actually wanted the vouchers and was using them for himself, so after a few years they stopped asking and bought an acual gift for me instead so that they knew I had received something iykwim.

Isetan Mon 23-Sep-13 08:47:22

You're not staying for your kids, you're no martyr; you're staying because your scared, your staying because of financial security, you're staying because you don't want to 'fail', you're staying because its all-you-know.

If your husband and your dad aren't the type of men you want your girls to be in a relationship with, then show them different. Right now there getting the same relationship model as you had from your parents and look how that turned out.

By all means stay, but be honest about your reasons.

Isetan Mon 23-Sep-13 08:49:38

Right now they're there getting the same relationship model as you had from your parents and look how that turned out.

I have just read this thread this morning, and in all the abuse, manipulation and control that he is exercising over you, I picked up on one thing:

"Before DH I was in a horribly abusive relationship for 2 years. It ruined me and I'm not sure I ever recovered. DH kind of rescued me from that and the only way I really broke free was by getting together with him. "

In the nicest possible way, he did not rescue you. He cherry-picked you.

I also agree with Isetan, you are not staying for the sake of the kids. It goes against all logic and all reason that your children is better off growing up in this atmosphere, learning how relationships are conducted, and what they can themselves expect in married life/their relationships. This is not in their best interest. Learning that women should be controlled by their husbands, manipulated, emotionally wretched, suffer emotional and sexual abuse by looking at their parents. They can see their role clearly, through you. Like you did. The circle of abuse will not end, you are passing this on to your daughters by staying.

You are staying because you are scared. You dont know how to leave.

I suggest you start making a plan. Slowly move your passports to your mothers house. Important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, bank statement and anything official you may need. Just in case.

NotHappyEither Mon 23-Sep-13 11:06:53

That's what I'm going to do. Make a plan. I'm going to start looking for a job. I'm going to need one. I don't want to rely on any help from him. Last time we split up he didn't give me any money. I knew he had just enough to survive on and get a sensible place and that was good for the girls. If I get a job I should be able to manage on my own. It's lots to think about but I'll get going.

lahti I did the quick cut thing last time and I just couldn't cope. I will try to chill out but I need to know that I will be able to provide somewhere sensible for the dc and that we'll be able to afford to get by. Thank you for your comments, its nice to hear from someone further down the line!

Lahti Mon 23-Sep-13 14:03:22

I felt like that re providing for DD but I realised that I wasn't even 'living' I was just existing. I remember thinking that I had had this convo once 5 yrs ago and I needed to do it again noweven though it was going to be harder due to having had DD and there was no way I was bloody doing it again in another 5 yrs. I have to say that STBXH had actually stepped up his efforts as a father and DD enjoys spending time with him.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 23-Sep-13 14:15:08

Check what benefits you would be entitled to as well. I know it's not a nice thought to rely on benefits, but that way at least it's not reliant on you getting a job first.

Plus, it would be sensible if you do get a job to make sure it's no more than part time - just in case (and this is very unlikely) he decides to try for custody. The favour will be keeping the status quo, so you want to make sure you are still main carer. Also, again, run a few different job/hour situations through the benefits calculator thing - once you work too many hours you go over the threshold for childcare which can make things tricky again.

Start looking in local papers, the ads at the end of supermarkets etc for rental prices near you - unless you have a high paid job, the estate agents won't touch you usually sad

MoreThanWords Mon 23-Sep-13 15:23:33

I separated a year after I started a uni course and managed financially - albeit renting a house for me and the children. It's do-able. (And got a First, despite all his sh*t grin)

Lweji Mon 23-Sep-13 15:27:57

I don't remember from up the thread, but WA might be a good port of call for support.

Sending strength vibes.

Get as much info as you can and set yourself free.

StackOverflow Mon 23-Sep-13 16:06:44

In response to your question upthread, OP: I've been great since I've separated from STBXH! I have fingernails again. I look and feel happier. I'm joyfully celibate at the moment - this may change again in the future, just can't stand the thought of 'having to' have sex with someone at the moment.

STBXH has decided that he absolutely must work for my employer recently. Bit of a headache - but nothing like the constant demands for sex.

Divinity Mon 23-Sep-13 19:24:17

My ex left a couple of weeks before I went back to university full time. The benefits I discovered I was entitled to (single parent with young children) include child tax credit, 100% council tax, winter fuel allowance, free school meals, free prescriptions + dentist. ExH pays 20% maintenance for my two DSs. The school also has a uniform fund.

So there are benefits in place for exactly this kind of situation.

NotHappyEither Wed 25-Sep-13 11:53:23

I am going to sound utterly pathetic here but my resolve is slipping already. Please help me make sense of this, I know from everything written above that the best option would be leaving but I am struggling so much at the moment.

I know it's a cliché but he is being so nice at the moment. Not forced nice, it doesn't feel like it's got any undertones or scheming behind it, he's just being really lovely. And this is the problem. I know he can be like this, he can be really helpful and understanding and kind. Nothing is too much trouble, we're getting along really well, having sensible conversations where he is listening to what I say. There's been no pressure to have sex since the other night. In fact I'm starting to feel guilty about not having sex because he is being so nice. Like I'm withholding sex from him. Then I wonder if actually maybe I do have issues around sex? It is possible isn't it? I know it's easy to say it's all down to the pressure he's put me under and all that but what if some how I've misunderstood the whole situation and going back, it was me that started all this? How will I ever know?

It actually makes me feel really sad. Why can't he just be like this all the time and then we would never have got to this point? Deep down I don't believe it will last forever but there's always this glimmer of hope that he will stay this way this time. I just feel broken. It's like every time I get angry or determined he ups his game. Why does he have to wait until I'm fed up. It doesn't make any sense.

It's lovely living in a peaceful and happy environment but I almost feel like I can't relax because I'm waiting for it to all start again. But then if I feel like that I'm not giving it a proper chance am I? Maybe something I'm doing starts the negative slide again? Could that happen? Could it be me that is the reason we go round in circles? I don't know. Sorry for waffling but I am on the verge of just saying 'oh never mind, it's fine' and I am torn in half over whether that or planning on leaving is the way forward. I'm driving myself mad.

Lweji Wed 25-Sep-13 11:57:23

Honeymoon phase of the cycle of abuse.

Just ask yourself if you want to be in another weekend like this.

This is just another tactic to get the sex he wants.
If you keep not having, I bet his behaviour will escalate again.

there's always this glimmer of hope that he will stay this way this time
That's how he keeps you hooked.

Make the plan.
Even if you can't bring yourself to leave now, if you have the plan in place, in the next bad phase of the cycle you will find the anger to do it.

Lweji Wed 25-Sep-13 11:58:18

Oh, and you are not pathetic.

It's a recognised effect of the cycle of abuse.

You are just like all of us who have been there. sad

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 25-Sep-13 12:22:25

"I almost feel like I can't relax because I'm waiting for it to all start again."

And this is the problem. This isn't what an actual happy, healthy, relaxed relationship looks like, because you cannot relax. Even the good times are spoiled by this, because you know he can, and probably will, turn again the minute something happens. The worst part is, you don't even know what the trigger is - something might happen and you might flinch and he carries on being nice, it's confusing. But you know deep down that he will flip again and you'll see the other side of him.

This is not you at fault, being unable to give him a "proper chance" - this is just what the (relatively) good times are like with an abuser. You are already feeling guilty that you aren't having sex, perhaps because you feel he deserves a reward, like a toddler who has behaved well all day? (Clue: You are not his mother. It is not up to you to reward him for good behaviour.) Or perhaps because you fear that eventually his threshold for patience at waiting for sex will reach his limit and that will be the trigger. I think this one is more likely, even though you might be more consciously aware of the first drive. In fact it is a combination of the two. This is a monumental effort for him. It's not his nature, or he'd be like this most of the time. He is making the effort because he knows you are unhappy and he wants to keep you sweet again. Perhaps not consciously - he may just literally believe this is how relationships work.

But be careful, he is not doing it because he feels guilty, because he wants it to be like this all the time, or out of the goodness of his heart, he is putting in extra effort because in his world this means that he deserves something back. And so, as a combination of the two, he will grow increasingly frustrated that his efforts are not getting any return (sex, or perhaps not just sex but general doting on him from you) and in his mind, he is not even getting the minimum/expected amount! (of sex and/or general servitude) He's getting even less! Your perception is "Oh, fantastic! He's behaving like a normal human being - perhaps we can have an equal, happy relationship after all!" and his perspective is "I'm putting in all this effort and getting nothing back! What a cheeky bitch, she's just taking it all!

If you imagine something, say, housework (I know your issue isn't housework but as an example) as being your responsibility, you'd be amazed and grateful if someone came and did 25% of it for you.

However, if you saw this housework as jointly yours and the other person's responsibility, ie 50% each, but they did only 25% leaving you to do 75%, you'd probably be pissed off and resentful at them about it.

Now imagine your perspective is the second one, but the other person's perspective is the first. They would be confused that you're pissed off, because in their mind they've just done you a massive favour. They would think you were ungrateful. Perhaps, as well, they were expecting payment for doing their share and now you have had the cheek first of all not to even mention payment, but to criticise their efforts and say they aren't good enough!

This is what your relationship will always be like. You are expecting 50% from him, he is expecting 100% from you and even when he puts in something, he will never understand that you have totally different expectations. You cannot resolve this, unless you totally sacrifice your entire sense of self to give in to his needs, and look where that gets you sad even then, it will probably never be good enough.

Twinklestein Wed 25-Sep-13 12:28:07

OP you can always defer the leaving plans until he's an arsehole again, I'm sure you won't have long to wait. I wouldn't recommend it, but it's entirely up to you.

Why can't he just be like this all the time and then we would never have got to this point

Because people are complex. There's a side of him that's nice & a side that's awful. It would be great if the awful side didn't exist, but that's not the reality. The same could be said of Harold Shipman... he was a doctor, I'm sure he was nice to some people...

OxfordBags Wed 25-Sep-13 12:30:05

Yes, OP,this is the Honeymoon phase of abuse. Compared to how he can and does treat you, it feels extra-special and extra-wonderful. And you can feel really bonded to him again. But it's all part of the cycle that keeps you trapped and then excusing and minimising the abuse and questioning and blaming yourself.

My love, he should be treating you this way all the time. What you deacribe is not special behavioir or special treatment, it's not him being wonderful, etc., etc., this is the baseline level of relationship that you shouldtzke for granted. You ask why can't he be like this all the time - he can't be because this is not the real him,because he is not capable of remaining non-abusive. Abuse is his true nature. When things are going his way, or he needs to keep you sweet, feels he has maybe overstepped the mark and risks you calling him on his shit, he can make himself be normal and pleasant.

It is NOT your fault, the abuse, the problems, the unpleasantness. You are not creating, causing or triggering it. You teally must get your head around the truth that you are not responsible for his, or anyone else's, feelings and behaviour.

You say you can't relax, waiting for it all to happen again - how do you thinkit makes the kids feel? Do not delude yourself that them acting happy means they are unaffected.

Learning this cycle of nice and nasty from him is incredibly abusive and damaging to them.

CocktailQueen Wed 25-Sep-13 12:31:22

Oh, OP, he sounds horrible. He's bullying you into sex. And his behaviour/reactions are HIS business - it's not up to you to MAKE him feel anything. It's up to him to behave like an adult. He's using sex to control you - if it wasn't that, it would be something else. What are you going to do?

LadyVJJ Wed 25-Sep-13 12:43:12

De-lurking to say what a fantastic post Yoni, OP that makes so much sense, hope you can take something from those wise words.

Thewhingingdefective Wed 25-Sep-13 12:55:33

Jeez, he sounds like a git. Why would you ever want to have sex with someone that is only bothered about their own pleasure?

NotHappyEither Wed 25-Sep-13 13:26:14

Yes yoni what you say makes perfect sense. I suppose I do know he will get fed up waiting and he definitely will be thinking you cheeky bitch before long!

The way you describe the difference in expectations is spot on, I think this is what worries me, that we could work on lots of things but underneath we fundamentally have different ideas of a relationship.

I know when he's being an asshole its not my fault. But when he's being like this its really hard to hold onto. I know the answers, I know what I would say if someone else was telling me this but its so hard not to doubt my part in it because I've allowed it to get this far. I've allowed the cycle to go on and on for 10 years, basically letting him think its ok.

Meerka Wed 25-Sep-13 13:44:12

And now you are starting the process of clearing your mind and stepping back mentally to take stock - which is a very good thing.

when the pendulum swings back to him being awful again, and it will, come and revist what you wrote here and see and believe that it's a never ending grindstone revolving away and you and your children are the things getting crushed

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 25-Sep-13 17:40:43

But that's what I mean. In a normal healthy relationship things are happy and relaxed and stressfree ALL the time (well okay, ignoring any external stresses) and nobody thinks the other is "cheeky" if they aren't giving them loads of extra things back in return for this, and to boot, you're not wondering constantly when they are going to flip and turn into the scary person.

It is nothing to do with you allowing him to do anything - you are not his keeper. He doesn't need permission from you to behave in any way he likes. The reason that he behaves like an asshole some of the time is because deep down something in his personality tells him that it's okay for him to do this, or even "this isn't really okay but she really pushed it so I had to" - either way, he feels justified. And if something in his personality exists that tells him this, then that's not going to go away no matter how hard he tries.

Just think of what baseline part of your personality fundamentally stops you from hurting someone or saying hurtful things to them. He doesn't have that. So he will always think it's okay.

Lahti Wed 25-Sep-13 17:41:00

All emotional abusers are "nice" or actually what people in a good relationship would call 'normal' for a while, otherwise no one would ever put up with them for any length of time. My ex was 'normal' for a lasted until I had DD and my focus was quite rightly on her. He still does it now, but it is easier to deal with as I am not living with him. The thing is, what you think is nice should actually be the baseline in the relationship not the exception. Your expectations of his behaviour are watered down each time this happens and also the normal behaviour becomes less frequent. Take a look on the EA abuse thread the links are especially useful.

NotHappyEither Wed 25-Sep-13 18:33:41

Thank you lahti I really appreciate your point of view as it does seem we've been through a similar situation (even though you seem to have sussed this and got out a lot quicker than me!smile) He definitely lasts less and less time between snapping but what's involved when he snaps these days is no where near as bad as it used to be and he seems to be able to get it under control quicker.

Yoni you really are spot on again. He does have a sense of entitlement, there is always a reason why he's acted the way he does. Even if he agrees it was out of order he still finds something that I've done wrong as well. What's more confusing is that these days he often really seems to understand that its not what I'm doing that causes his outbursts but completely his own fault. He tells me all the right things to make me feel like he understands but the minute it happens again its clear he never really meant it. I don't know if its that he tries really hard to sort himself out and is just really sad when he fails or he's just got really good at saying what I want to hear. It's really hard to tell.

The other point about me not saying horrible things is true. No matter what mood I'm in or how much he had upset me I would NEVER speak to him or anyone else the way he does me. I've tried saying to him before that if he manages to control it in front of other people he should be able to with me. It's always excuses. He is quite blunt with everyone though. He says things to people sometimes that are completely inappropriate or actually sound quite rude but he's oblivious to how he comes across. And he lies all the time about everything. I notice, my mum notices, our friends notice. I think people at work must notice. We've talked about it before but he's almost convinced himself he's not as bad as he is. He thinks no one else is aware and that he's clever enough to get one over on people.

When I write all this down together it sounds ridiculous that I'm with him but it just doesn't feel like that day to day. If that makes sense?!confused

Handywoman Wed 25-Sep-13 19:55:14

Yoni you have just described my marriage to a tee!

STBXH has been out of the house for 3 months now. It sure is hard but at least my sense of self is intact. And wow, the feeling of 'coming back to being me' was completely exhilarating! My friends all expected me to be sobbing, but quite the contrary, I was on a high for a about six weeks.

Now life has settled down, life is full and very very tiring, but I'm being a true and honest person in front of my children now, and they are growing in confidence and in a sense of themselves, because of it.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 25-Sep-13 20:00:36

Yes, it does. I remember that feeling so clearly. I was exceptionally lucky in that I poured out to my mum one day that I wanted to leave and from that day forward she kept me focused and working on it even when I was having a "but he's being so normal" day. I remember feeling this total disconnect and like the life I was living was someone else's life, one day when we were going to the council offices. I remember explaining it like, if you lived in a war zone, and you were constantly in danger of a bomb falling on your house and killing you all, or walking on a mine, or your children doing so, or being gassed in the night while you slept, and this was the case for years and years, you couldn't constantly feel that fear even though the danger was constantly there. It would destroy you and paralyse you and leave you unable to actually do anything. And while all this is happening, you still have to cook, and go shopping, and feed the cat, and get the children to school and help them with their homework. And you would chat to your elderly neighbour and watch TV and do your usual hobby in the evenings, and life would go on as normal, except that there is this big awful frightening danger happening all the time.

It's the same when you're in an abusive relationship - you can be aware of the danger (emotional and physical - and there IS always physical danger with someone who has rages) objectively when you think about it or talk to someone about it or write it down, but day to day you have to normalise it to get through the normal stuff, feeding the baby, remembering to buy food, washing, meeting friends. Otherwise you're just paralysed from doing anything, and you can't just stop doing this stuff. The baby needs feeding, the clothes need washing, life goes on. The defence mechanism that enables you to live day to day prevents you from being able to act.

If you feel like this the best thing to do is plan your exit in fantasy - get all the building blocks together so that when you need to go, you can go. But also keep being aware of it, keep noticing the little things (look at red flag lists - this helps, as there will be a lot going on even during these "good" times which you aren't aware of, e.g. him always choosing what you watch on TV, feeling like you have to go to bed at the same time/different time to him, etc) talk on mumsnet or to anybody else who "gets it" - you will feel your mindset start to change.

Make an emergency plan first - make sure that your important documents are all in one place, back up important photos online, know where your nearest police station, council housing office, phone box etc are. Memorise Women's Aid's phone number or save it in your phone under an innocuous name like "Jackie". Make sure your phone always has credit and charge and try to keep it on your person. Keep your changing bag stocked with essentials like nappies, change of clothes for DC, formula cartons, snacks (if necessary), cash, bank cards, spare phone charger, etc. It's very unlikely you'd have to leave in a hurry but just in case.

Other than that, look up prices of rental properties in your area, and/or information about how you can get him out of your house, including finding out how much it would cost to change the locks, look up your benefit entitlements as a single parent, start looking and imagining in fantasy what your life could be like. Do the routine of leaving/kicking him out in your head so that you know the steps even if you never really think you will have to or want to do it. Protect yourself - delete mumsnet or at least this thread from your browsing history, or use "private browsing" to access it. Always sign out of mumsnet, emails etc when you stop using the computer.

You don't have to make a concrete plan of when you are leaving. But making a plan to leave helps you to realise that you can do something about your situation. You can't stop the war, you can seek refuge somewhere else, or make it go away (with help). Likely the thing that makes you finally say "Enough" will be something relatively minor. Big things are too easy to smooth over and say "Oh, it doesn't matter, it's over now."

I believe in you, we all do. You can make a better life for yourself and your DC.

perfectstorm Wed 25-Sep-13 20:23:46

This man will say or do anything to keep you there and under his thumb. The methodology will vary from angelic loveliness to actual violence, across the spectrum between, but the one constant remains: he does not give a shiny shit about you, or the children.

This man played Disney dad during the split and was Mr Perfect... except he did not give a fuck if his daughters starved to death and would not give you a single penny towards their upkeep - and you see no contradiction in those statements? None? And this after he had to leave because he escalated his behaviour to physical

You say things haven't got worse and that over the last ten years they have in fact improved, and that this to you proves that it isn't an abusive setup. But in the next posts, you say you left because he started being physically as well as emotionally abusive, and so after a sustained charm campaign and lies about his having had treatment for his anger issues, you took him back. Since then he has been incrementally backsliding - of course. He's working you back into where you once were. And this time, you're less inclined to leave, because you did it once and it didn't stick.

You also say you think you should stay with him because you're grateful your mother did with your father, who was very similar to your DH. You do realise you have repeated the marital pattern thus modelled to you? You realise your two daughters are subconsciously internalising your own marriage as a template for how theirs should be? How is that in their best interests - man handing on misery to man, as Philip Larkin so acerbically put it? You can break the cycle, start a new model and meet someone who will actually value you as a human individual and who would no more abuse you as he systematically does than they would fly to Mars.

I'be got 2 girls. I hate the thought that I'm ruining the potential for them to have healthy future relationships. I just don't even know where to start. He's made it clear he would never leave again and I have no way of getting some where else to live. He also wouldn't compromise on how often he sees the DC. He would only accept 50/50 at the least. I could accept that but don't even really know what that means.

I'm actually scared by how BADLY he has warped your perception of the world. He dictates to you on how any split would play out, without reference or regard to the welfare of anyone else (and most notably the kids) and you seem to meekly take his word as the law? Shock as it might be to him, he is not the law. There's a whole system of family courts set up to administrate family breakdown, and if you're married the starting point of division of assets is 50/50, and realistically the primary carer of the kids (you're a stay at home mother, right?) usually ends up with more simply because harsh reality dictates that housing them suitably takes more than half of what most families have to contribute. Whether married or not, he is by law forced to pay child support. He can "make it clear he wouldn't leave again" all he wants, but if you were to file for divorce on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour he might very well have to within a few short months. And as for "would only accept 50/50" erm, that isn't up to him, and is not the norm. Every other weekend and one midweek night is. He can say he "won't accept that" till he's blue in the face but the fact is he isn't Lord High Dictator of the World and you don't have to give a shiny shit what he thinks he will or won't accept. He has to accept what the law says he must, like everyone else. His entitlement attitude is quite pathetically mistaken, frankly. The scary part is that you're just assuming he must have whatever he states he wants, and arranging your life as though his proclamations are anything more than the entitled whining of a nasty little overgrown toddler. I WANT! Is not actually binding on the rest of the world.

DH and I never have sex unless we're both in the mood. After I had a baby I went off sex for a year and it was only when things perked up that I asked him how he'd coped. He shrugged and said he'd just wanked more. When I asked if he'd minded, he said he'd not had any other options - he didn't want sex with me unless I wanted it. That's normal. Your husband's abuse of you is anything but. He's not treating you like a partner, but like a trophy crossed with a domestic appliance. He seems to have absolutely no regard for your feelings and you seem to have been so ground down by him that you are straightforwardly accepting his view of the situation and your own powerlessness within it. This is not a normal or healthy dynamic. It's a horrible one. Surely you can't want this to be your life? There are so, so many lovely men out there who would truly partner you and love you and befriend you. Yet you are stuck with this one?

Your posts make me wince. This is a profoundly abusive relationship. Your daughters are learning that this is normal. And you yourself don't even fully realise that that is what it is.

perfectstorm Wed 25-Sep-13 20:31:02

I forgot to add - you sound lovely. Sane, reasonable, switched-on, socially adept and very intelligent. I think that's part of the problem. His behaviour is so crazy it's second nature to rationalise and minimise. But it also means that you would have a perfectly happy, calm and sane life without him - he is the chaos and the drama, in one person. Your life could be so relaxed and easygoing without him.

A friend told me, when I was in an equally appalling relationship, that the problem was I never was able to take a step back and look at the whole overall pattern. I just got angry about individual incidents. I think that's a coping mechanism when the cognitive gap between what life should be, and what it is, is so huge.

NotHappyEither Thu 26-Sep-13 07:30:22

Thank you for your posts perfect and yoni. Yes my life was so much calmer and sane without him and I know it will be again when I can find the strength to get out of this.

yoni your post actually gives me confidence. The fantasy plan is something that I am already doing, I feel better knowing that maybe that means I'm already heading in the right direction and not just being a coward who imagines things instead of taking immediate action. The way you describe things is incredible, it really is. The war analogy is so exactly how my life is except I can never explain it so clearly. In fact having you explain it like that has made it become clear in my head, if that makes sense.

All these things are so amazing, this is why MN is so important. The thread the other day about whether strangers should be telling people to ltb had some really great points on it. Having other women together saying no this is not ok instead of the male oriented world we live in which tells us how we should make things better by changing our behaviour, its critical it really is. I wish my mum had MN to tell her its NOT ok. I wish lots of my friends could read the threads on here and begin to question the things they accept as normal. It's only when you do that you realise how conditioned we all are to accepting things because men (apparently not all men which is a new concept in my world!) lead us to believe that it is 'just the ay we are.' I feel sad at the situation I'm in and actually quite angry that its so obvious that other people can explain my life better than I can my own (not at anyone on here but more at myself) I AM an intelligent person, how is it I've allowed myself to live this life? Thank you so much for all your comments, they really so so much appreciated.

NotHappyEither Thu 26-Sep-13 07:32:43

Sorry for typos blush

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 26-Sep-13 08:11:38

Your post brought tears to my eyes!

Honestly, this stuff is NOT obvious at all, it's the total opposite of what our instincts and everything we've ever learned about relationships tell us. Even professionals in a lot of cases have no idea of the nuances and the underlying reasons, the control etc. The only way I'm able to speak so clearly about it is mainly because I've been on these boards (and reading recommended blogs, books, etc) for nearly 5 years now, reading, responding, thinking, putting things together. As you say, once the lightbulb is on you want to spread it to everyone - my perfect job would be to work with teenagers about the topic of sex and relationships, or some kind of DV support, maybe run some kind of course for professionals about understanding DV/EA.

NotHappyEither Thu 26-Sep-13 09:22:42

Yes that's exactly it, I want to grab my mum and friends and shake them and say look this isn't the way it has to be. But its so hard to fight against. My mum is supportive of me and agrees DH is unreasonable but I can still see her thinking I should work things out 'for the children' that some how a separation is the worst thing that could happen to us. All around me people minimise (sp?) the things that happen. This is the first time people have said to me no you're not mad, ungrateful and expecting too much, trust your instincts. It's quite overwhelming (but in a good way) and makes me feel quite emotional too. They SHOULD teach this stuff. This should be what we fight for.

Jux Thu 26-Sep-13 10:55:38

Show them by example, NotHappy. You'll have sooooo much time and energy to talk about it and encourage them in the future. Yes, this is what we should fight for, what should be taught in every school in the country. But, first, we need to support you through it. I came upon your thread this morning. It is so heartening so see the difference between the you who started this thread, and the you who wrote those last couple of posts.

Once you are free, look into the Freedom Programme. It will help you reset your boundaries.

Yoni, wouldn't it be great if you could do that?

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 26-Sep-13 11:30:02

I would love to. No idea how to get into it, though. I am teaching EFL at the moment. Sort of a vague hope that the teaching experience may help me migrate in that direction at some point in the future smile

One of my friends from the TEFL course is now teaching in a refugee centre in the UK, mostly wives of male immigrants/refugees from countries where value is only placed on male education. She's giving them a whole new skill which will be a lease of life for them in this new country, I think it's fantastic. Not sure if we will come back to the UK, though, and not much call for English for immigrants here!

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Thu 26-Sep-13 11:35:50

Finally de lurking to offer some support nothappy. There is lots that I want to say but won't ramble on too much... My ex was similar to yours in some ways though my situation wasn't as bad, I had no children but also had no claims to the house and was financially dependant on him. He used to hassle me for sex in a passive/aggressive way, using guilt to get to me. He used to hound me about it, mention it constantly and grope me at inappropriate times then say it was my fault for turning him on because I was so attractive. Jesus what a loser! Anyway one day I shouted at him "if I agree to have sex with your tonight will you just shut up about it?" And he said yes! Ffs who wants sex under those circumstances?! Sometimes I'd cry all the way through it but I though that because I'd consented (even though under extreme pressure) then it was my problem. He even complained once that it felt like he was raping me, it didn't stop him though!

The thing was he wanted me to want him, maybe if he'd backed off when I asked him to we could have got to that place but he thought if we had sex often enough I would learn to enjoy it or something, I don't know... But he dint back off and bit by bit he killed whatever love I had for him, all shows of affection, a kiss or a cuddle was his cue to start pressuring me for sex and in the end I found him repulsive.

I left it a long time before I left, at first I was scared, then I felt guilty (he'd conditioned me to feel that way) and finally when I realised what a loser he was I stayed because I felt sorry for him,because I knew no one else would want him. How messed up is that?!

It was hard to leave, he tried to guilt me into coming back, when that didn't work he got angry, he tried lots of things but he didn't have any power over me anymore and that felt great, it really did! Once I'd let go of all that guilt and responsibility it was so much easier to leave than I thought it would be.

If gone on too long, sorry. What I really wanted to say is keep working on your plan, don't fall for his shit because he'll tell you whatever he has to to get has needs met. You're a strong woman, you can do this and your kids will be fine. It will be hard for you all but you'll get through it and life can be so wonderful afterwards. Please keep us updated, I'm rooting for you xxx

NotHappyEither Thu 26-Sep-13 12:34:45

jux thank you for posting, I will definitely look into the freedom program, I've seen a few people mention it. And thank you so much for your support, I will concentrate on me for now because as much as I love my friends and mum the other girls I can show this to by example are my girls. I have to get myself sorted to start a new way of living for them.

artemisia thank you for sharing your experience, that is very much how things have gone with me AMD DH. I wish he'd backed off years ago and given me the chance to enjoy sex when I wanted to. Maybe then by feeling cherished and understood things could have been different. What I have to accept though is he's not that man. He would never behave like that because that's not what he truly deep down believes. It's lovely to hear you're out and you're happier. Hopefully I'll be able to update positively but its going to take time, NOT forever! (!) but time to get organised and plan. Thanks to yoni yourself and lots of other lovely lovely posters on here I know that's ok and that it doesn't mean I'm giving in. I'm using time to make me strong, I'm not going to let myself fall back this time.

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