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Can't take much more and scared.

(97 Posts)
Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 11:10:36

I'm going to try and get this out in one go, I'll keep it as short and to the point as possible without leaving anything major out so if you can bear with me I'd be really grateful.

Been with my husband for 15 years, married almost three. I'm not so much asking for advice - just a bottom line opinion of the situation as you, neutral people see it.

He's extremely insecure, at the moment more so than ever after I slept with another man last year. Yeah, sounding really fab so far aren't I? It was a mistake, one I regretted immediately. Couldn't handle the guilt so fessed up. It was an horrific time and I can honestly say it hurt more to be the cheater and to see the damage I caused than it did to be the cheated on (a few years ago he had a fling) I'm on strong anti depressants because of acute anxiety, mainly brought on by what I did.

He always has been insecure, though he'd deny it. Noticeably offish with male friends of mine, sometimes to the point said friends have walked away for good because they must have felt really uncomfortable with the atmosphere it created. About two years ago we had a rough patch, I don't think he'd describe it as one but he took the pressures of his job out on me, criticised me constantly to the point I dreaded him coming home from work because if I did a thousand things in a day he'd notice the one thing I hadn't and criticise. I just never felt good enough. He's a sulker, and his record for basically ignoring me was six weeks. Can't recall what I did, probably just a general argument. Sulking and witholding affection. It drove me to distraction and was a horrible thing to live with, made me thoroughly miserable. He can go to town on me, listing my faults and failings for hour upon hour.

At this point an old friend started paying me attention, I got my head turned, I was hearing all the good things about myself rather than the bad. Long story short it culminated in me having sex with him...and here we are. There is an approved list of friends I can go out with, an approved list of places. I've had to delete male friends from my FB on his say so (because he feels they are too close to the man I slept with even though this isn't neccesarily the case) he denies it is on his say so, but I get "I'm only asking and if you cared about my feelings, you'd do it for me" - the result if I didn't do it would be more being sent to Coventry and rows for an easy life I have done so. In fact the only male friends he doesn't mind me having are gay. He denies it is because they are gay, he just "likes" them and finds a hundred reasons why he doesn't like the straight ones.

The other day I went for a couple of drinks with a friend who isn't on the approved list (I'm not saying there is a physical list but there is definitely a group of people he doesn't like me interacting with...if you loved me/cared about me you wouldn't) and the meeting point was down a certain road where at times the OM drinks, it was highly unlikely I'd see him as it was a Tuesday night and this particular pub isn't one of his regulars. Before I went I got grief about it and the whole if you loved me/cared about my feelings spiel...I went regardless, I'm a grown woman with the right to make decisions for myself and how can I ever prove I can be trusted not to make the same mistake if I'm put on such a short lead? When I got back he verbally laid into me again. Listing men I have spoken to on FB and grilling me abut my intentions towards them.

He actually apologised to me but he never, ever apologises without some sort of "but if you hadn't done XYZ" - caveat - I'd not have said/done what I did. He never takes personal responsibility for his actions, it's always because someone else (usually me) did such and such that made him do it.

I feel like I'm having the life sucked out of me, that I have very little freedom as an adult to make choices and decisions for myself. I fear if I left him he'd do something stupid. There were suicide threats after what happened last year, his family and my own just turned on me completely, nobody was interested in why it might have happened. The fact he'd done it to me completely dismissed as irrelevent when I pointed out he'd done it to me more than once and I forgave. My family think he's the dogs bollocks because he's a good dad and works hard and as my mum tells me when I have tried to talk to her about this "he's not a drinker and he doesn't hit you so be grateful".

I'm at breaking point with it, I refuse invitations to go out despite being a SAHM who sometimes just needs a break from the house because it's not worth the grief I have to endure if I go and I'm beginning to really resent him. I've suggested counselling but I'm getting to the point I don't even care about that. I just want out. This hasn't ALL come abut because of what did, he's pretty much always been like this about male friends. In fact we ended up getting married because he found out I'd been chatting (just that) to an old ex on FB. He went nuts, smashing cups and glass panels in the door and then he began the talk of marriage. I got swept up in it.

EricNorthmansMistress Thu 23-Jun-11 11:40:00

Yes, get out. Really. I don't want to say too much but I get you. You can't live like that - it's a metter of time before you snap and the resentment you feel kills any love you have for him.

He won't kill himself - and even if he did, it wouldn't be your fault. You only get one life. Don't waste it.

ScarlettIsWalking Thu 23-Jun-11 11:43:53

I'm not surprised you had an affair, get rid of this negative baggage and enjoy your life. You sound dangerously depressed actually.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 11:55:07

Part of me feels this is justified punishment for what I did, of COURSE he'll feel insecure after what I did but that insecurity has always been there. I've never felt comfortable chatting to men because I know he'll take it badly even if he tries not to show it, I know it's there, under the surface.

He says asking me to never go to XYZ, to never see or speak to such and such isn't an unfair request after what I did. Seriously, in your opinion is it too big an ask or is it to be expected because I cheated?

I don't want my kids to grow up in a broken home, I have been with him since I was 18 and don't know any different. I've had so much more confidence in myself the last couple of years. Yes I have four kids, no, my body isn't what it was but people still liked me! The more my confidence grew, the more insecure he became and I feel like I'm constantly pacifying him. I don't want to have sex anymore because of my growing resentment, in fact I find it increasingly difficult to show affection sad

Anniegetyourgun Thu 23-Jun-11 12:00:42

"he's not a drinker and he doesn't hit you so be grateful"

What a high standard your mother sets hmm

Seriously, run away. There are more kinds of broken home than ones where the mother and father don't live together. This one sounds thoroughly broken from the inside.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 12:04:58

Annie, my mum is very sort of 'don't rock the happy little boat of equilibrium' even if it's nothing but an illusion.

The day I found out he'd cheated was the only time since I was a child that I went to her and wanted her to hold me. She was obv v.uncomfortable about it and muttered something abut all men do it at some point. Yet last year when I, her daughter lay on the couch staring into space like a zombie she refused to even entertain my attempts at explaining myself.

I think in some ways my confidence has been so eroded I don't believe I could go it alone. His mum told me that if he had killed himself it'd be my fault and she'd make sure my kids always knew I as good as killed their father while his dad shouted in the background to put the phone down on me as I'm worthless - this was at the time I'd had the suicide message and was frantically trying to find him.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 12:06:12

PS I do understand at that point she was scared witless for her son, herself and it was said in anger.

malinkey Thu 23-Jun-11 12:16:56

I think you've been punished enough haven't you? Can't see how it's ever going to get any better especially now he's got a "reason" to blame you for his jealousy. I'd leave.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 12:20:16

I think it became a self fulfilling prophecy tbh, and I don't say that to absolve myself of blame. I just felt genuinely wanted by someone who seemed to see nothing but good in me as opposed to nothing but failings.

malinkey Thu 23-Jun-11 12:30:04

I can totally understand why that would have been attractive.

If you hadn't slept with the other man do you think you should have to be treated in this horrible way by your partner? Sounds like he was like this before that happened.

Don't worry about what his parents are saying or whether you mother thinks it's ok to put up with it. You have to do what's right for you. And if you don't want to live this way then that's your choice and you are perfectly entitled to make it. Threats of suicide are not a reason to stay in an unhappy relationship.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 12:37:49

I don't think it would have been this bad but I also can see how things were heading this way anyway.

School reunion, May 09. Great night, no awkwardness between anyone despite not having seen each other for 15 years. I've always had a really good group of friends but mainly they are professional career woman, at most only having one child so for a long time I felt there was an unbridegable gap. This didn't stop us all being good friends but on this reunion I had so much more in common with those I met up with and we began to see each other more often. I don't mean seeing them ridiculously often, one night out every three months or so.

He decided I changed, wasn't 'me' anymore. In truth I think I just gained more confidence, my youngest was at school and I was pursuing more interests for myself. It was at the third 'reunion' I met up with this man again. He used this as his yardstick if you like. These are the people I'm not comfortable with you seeing (fucking hell if I hear the words "I'm not comfortable" again in my life I think I might blow). You changed from that first reunion, get rid of facebook blah blah.

Basically he was 'only comfortable' with me being the little wife at home. He can't accept that people grow and change over time and as life circumstances change. You either grow with them or not. He chose not. I began to grow as a person and he's determined to stamp it out of me, mentally.


inatrance Thu 23-Jun-11 12:50:58

Oh onelasttry I'm sending you some un-Mumsnetty hugs. Whether you slept with somebody or not it does NOT give him the right to treat you like this. This is an emotionally abusive relationship and you sound like you are surrounded by toxic people. It doesn't matter that he had never hit you, he doesn't have to. He uses his words as a weapon to beat you with.

Does this ring any bells?

Sorry can't link on phone. It is no wonder you looked elsewhere for comfort, his withdrawal of affection (6 weeks is shocking!) alone is hugely damaging without his criticism and emotional blackmail. You do not deserve this and for you to be treated so badly, when he has done so much worse to you is appalling. You said he had a fling... That sounds more than a one off. Yet you have to suffer endlessly for one mistake? Actually it doesn't sound too much of a mistake, any sane person would be attracted to warmth and attention after what you've been through.

Now you need to get help to give you the confidence to get out and live your life again. He will never change. It doesn't matter how perfect you try to be, it will never be enough. A normal man would not do this to you.

Get as much support as you can, call women's aid. Or if you need convincing that this is abuse, read the Lundy Bancroft book. I guarantee you will find your H in there.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can have a happy life if you can find the strength to get out of this toxic marriage.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 13:04:29

I'm bloody crying now! smile

Yeah it's all there, he'll never admit it though. He thinks his behaviour is perfectly normal and understandable after what I did. He's made me and the kids his entire life and it's so mentally exhausting to feel so responsible for another person's happiness, that I seriously consider neglecting my own so I don't hurt him.

He says I give him no support to help him get over it, by this he means giving in to every last whim. To never go to such and such a place, to cut so and so out of my life for good. His fling happened, yes, he saw her and slept with her more than once but justifies it that at the time he did it he was living with his mum (another thing he regularly did while his parents lived closer and in a bigger house was to move out for weeks at a time if we argued) and considered us over. Maybe it did make what he did more acceptable than what I did, I dunno.

He came home, proposed having known it had been all I'd wanted for seven years - I was soooooo happy. Then in an argument he flung it at me, he never told me in a calm, nice way, it was chucked at me mid row. I was told to get over it after one day.

Six weeks later he informs me he's going to Thailand with his brother. I was newly pregnant with our fourth, utterly heartbroken and pleaded with him not to go, if he had to have a holiday to use the money to take us all. He was adamant and went regardless. I got very little support to help me get over it. In fact it was the worst year of my life (until now). He still sees that he did nothing wrong, it was his "one selfish act" and I wouldn't go abroad so he went without me (I wouldn't go because I was so ashamed of my post baby body and couldn't face wearing swimming gear in front of anybody else) not helped by the time he told me my stomach makes me look like a burns victim.

I'm rambling....just good to get it all out.

This man is an arsehole and it serves him right that you had an affair. Don't waste any more guilt on it. I bet you didn't feel entitled to punish him indefinitely for his affair.
If one partner has an affair, the other partner is hurt, blah blah etc, but that doesn't entitle them to make the cheating person suffer for the rest of his/her life.
It's also very common for people who have unreasonably jealous, sulky, lousy partners to cheat anyway, they get to the point where they think they might as well do what they are being accused of.
Honestly, get rid of this nasty wanker, he isn't going to get any better and he is going to get steadily worse.
Best of luck. Your mum's a twat as well BTW, find yourself some supportive mates and hold your head up high. You deserve far more out of life than this.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 13:12:39

Yet...I still feel the need to defend him. He is a really good dad, works stupid hours to provide and can be lovely.

I'm just waking up to the fact he can still be these things whilst being emotionally abusive and controlling. It's so much harder when on the outside he appears to be the salt of the Earth, nice guy. In many ways he is.

I juts cannot live with this knot of tension in my stomach any longer. None of this is healthy, is it?

buzzsore Thu 23-Jun-11 13:36:06

That's the thing about abusers like him, they can be charming and can seem wonderful from the outside - it's only the partner (and children) who see his true persona.

OK, he may be a hands-on dad and loving & patient with the children, but if he puts you down routinely, he's teaching them that it's ok to treat the person you're supposed to love like dirt. Is that a good lesson? Is that modelling a healthy relationship - or setting them up to either give or receive abuse?

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 13:50:11

He genuinely doesn't see what he does as abusive or damaging though. He thinks it's entirely understandable because of what I did. But there are so many instances of him taking instant dislikes to male friends if they're straight. Instinctively I second guess any reaction.

When the school reunions were being planned a school friend (male) messaged me and suggested we try and thrash out some details, fancy a drink this afternoon? my mum had taken my kids for the afternoon, housework was all done, shopping done and I literally had nothing else on so I left my husband a note explaining where I was, who I was with and why.

Later on I took this friend back home to meet him. My God did he make it awkward, sat in stony silence with this glare on his face. Friend leaves pretty quickly - as I'd not eaten I said I'd walk as far as the chippy with him. Got back and he's standing on the doorstep with this utterly evil look on his face.

How dare I leave him to come home to a note and have to cook his own tea? and I saw you stroking his leg (I was stroking my cat who was sitting next to him). This friend is one of the ones I had to delete from FB after my husband sent him a message warning him to stay away from me. Friend sent one back basically accusing him of controlling me...husband flipped and now uses this "attack" (he really can't see that my friend retaliated to a totally uncalled for warning) as the reason I should stay away from him, oh, not to mention he occasionally drinks with the OM. To him, behaviour like this is normal.

It's making me a cowering wreck, too scared to make decisions and choices about my friends for myself. But if I loved him, cared about him, wanted to make it up to him, I'd go along with whatever conditions he puts on me now.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 23-Jun-11 13:51:14

If he was horrible all the time you wouldn't have gone out with him after Day 1, let alone have four children with him. Of course he has good qualities. Nearly everyone in the world has some good qualities. But you are not happy together.

Having an affair was an undesirable action but I agree with everyone else that it was understandable under the circumstances, a lot more than his was. Did he perhaps manufacture the row so he would have an excuse to flounce out and see the other woman for a bit, then came home when he'd had his jollies? (I'm betting he was up to no good on his Thai holiday too, but I don't suppose anyone will ever know for certain.) Unfortunately he is I suspect rather glad you did succumb to temptation, because now he's got hold of a handy stick to beat you with for ever after.

I'm still quivering with horror at your mother's reaction. For one thing, who does she think "all men do it at some time" with? That's right: a woman. So it's amazing hypocrisy to forgive one affair but not the other, given that both affairs involved one person of each sex. Just totally illogical. But that she wasn't more inclined to forgive her own daughter anything short of murder, that's appalling.

SamsGoldilocks Thu 23-Jun-11 13:53:46

If he loved and cared about you he wouldn't be putting all these conditions on your behaviour, on who you see and it seems like he's upped the ante since he's realsied he's 'losing control' of you.

Yes he's upset about your behaviour, understandable but he's ignoring the deeper problems isn't he. And i think you know that really don't you.

barbiegrows Thu 23-Jun-11 13:57:41

Firstly this relationship isn't working. You are both hurting each other.

Your OH is treating you badly, and it's possible that you are doing stuff subconsciously so it will get you out of the relationship. When you have been put on the defensive for so long and suddenly you get affection from someone he shouldn't be surprised that this would happen.

Think of your kids - you are setting a bad example to them by allowing them to see this head-messing dysfunction. Prepare youself to leave - don't talk about it, disengage from him and one day it will feel like the right time and you will be ready to do it. Remember that he will be fine and if he chooses to be a drama queen about it, well, that's his choice.

Good luck.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 14:00:57

I already had my first son when I met him. 18, convinced I was on the shelf for life because a couple of other proespects had clearly been put off by my child. I just felt lucky someone was interested enough to stick around.

Ironically my mum told me early on that she felt he had controlling tendencies.

Quickly pregnant, the realtionship obviously wasn't good and we used to have terribke rows but as time went on we both mellowed a bit with each other. Throughout my 20's I completely devoted myself to being a SAHM so these things were never quite so much an issue, at least not enough for me to think much of them.

As soon as I began to pursue more interests, make new friends it started bigtime.

buzzsore Thu 23-Jun-11 14:04:02

Personally I think from what you've said, he's delighted you cheated - it gives him excuse to unleash all his previous jealousy, disrespect, criticism and nastiness on you.

It sounds like you come from a very unsupportive (possibly disfunctional/abusive) family background, given your mother's behaviour, and maybe that's why you went into a relationship with him in the first place.

Onelasttry Thu 23-Jun-11 14:09:25

Yeah there was abuse in my childhood, my dad is an alcoholic and my mum's life is 90% miserable because of it but I think she's just a 'you made your bed' kind of person.

My marriage failing would in her eyes give her more problems to deal with so it's better if I put up and shut up so she can at least bury her head in the sand that actually, I'm really unhappy.

I'm looking at him and beginning to feel utter revulsion and a kind of 'how bloody dare you, I'm a fucking person in my own right'.

When the fuck did I allow myself to become someone's property?

HerHissyness Thu 23-Jun-11 14:10:19

"He genuinely doesn't see what he does as abusive or damaging though. He thinks it's entirely understandable because of what I did. But there are so many instances of him taking instant dislikes to male friends if they're straight. Instinctively I second guess any reaction. "

Now, where on God's earth does it say that this man's opinion of anything is right?

No abuser admits to being abusive. Usually they either blame the victim, if she didn't to a, b or c, I wouldn't have to x y or z.

People have alluded to emotional abuse here, but in your OP, I could see it half way through.

You may not understand it fully yet, or understand much about it, but it is full on emotional abuse. stonewalling, gas lighting, the lot... a very nasty little man.

I recommend you read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. Amazon link here I recommend you disengage from your mother, she will defend this relationship for no good reason apart from her own selfish ones until the end of time. She is not a friendly force right now.

Be careful, men like this can start to hit etc when they see they are losing control. Speak to Women's Aid, please and get some RL support, real proper dependable support.

Post here or track us down on the Support for those in Emotionally Abusive relationships thread.

Sadly there are many of us, in or out of relationships like this, we'll understand you and you won't feel so alone.

None of this is your fault, remember that, he chose to do this to you. Forget the insecurity, forget what you did or didn't do, he'd have done this to you regardless. Buy the book I mentioned, it'll explain it all there.

buzzsore Thu 23-Jun-11 14:22:18

It's good that you're seeing him for what he is and realising you don't deserve to be treated this way. It's a first step in getting free of it.

Maybe you could have a talk with Women's Aid?

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