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A long post-I would love some advice(47 Posts)
This is going to be quite a long post. I’ve never shared on a forum like this before but could really do with some impartial advice from strangers. Basically, my question is, as an expat living in the USA, should I feel bad about leaving for my planned break in the UK two weeks earlier than I was intending to leave because I can no longer tolerate my husband’s behavior? Here’s the dilemma. My husband had a benign brain tumour in January. He has his first three-month scan a couple of week ago and they said it is clear but they want to be sure a tiny area is just postoperative healing. Another scan is booked for the start of July. Am I a terrible person for thinking of going anywhere right now? I was always planning on a break to see my mother and speak at a conference for July and August and my husband told me he is absolutely fine with this and has been for the past 2 months. Because of his behaviour, I am now thinking of coming two weeks earlier than planned (2nd week of June). I am wondering if this is the right thing to do.
I want to give a bit of detail that will help to explain my personal situation. In August of last year my husband and I emigrated to the USA. It was for his work (he’s an American). We have no children (sorry if that means I shouldn't be on here-I just wanted to speak to someone). When we arrived here I felt he was very unsupportive and didn’t help me settle in. I found out he’d spent lots of money on some collectible cards when I was working hard trying to sell things online because I felt it was unfair for me to live out of what would be the money that we put in savings every month. I am educated to PhD level but struggled to pick up anything other than part-time lecturing positions (a job’s a job, I’m not complaining) when we first arrived. I was very concerned I’d never work again due to legal issues (my qualifications have to be internationally evaluated which takes time) and because quite honestly in the small place we live the three universities hiring aren’t, well, hiring. I have a couple of part-time professor contracts coming up in September and worked another couple back late last year and early this year. I’m not telling you this for any particular reason, just for context. I cannot share what my husband does but he is in a good, well-paid professional job.
Along with my general anxieties about leaving the UK forever, and my career questions, I have found being away from my mother unbearable. We are best friends and I sometimes just find it so hard. As you can imagine, I often feel very alone and isolated and the women I’m expected to be friends with her are…well…I don’t really know how to phrase it, all a little bit ‘as long as your man’s happy’ in their attitudes. My husband’s behaviour towards me from the beginning was, in my opinion, unempathetic. For the first 8 weeks we were living in an isolated place in a hotel. I felt he didn’t really understand that me leaving behind my mother, my career, and generally my whole life in the UK for good was a huge thing for me. There were nights when I couldn’t sleep because I felt so upset and homesick but he would roll over and tell me he was sick of dealing with it. This was odd to me as in the UK he was a very wonderful husband. There were fights and arguments but it was as if he felt he didn’t have to put on a show anymore as he knew I had no-one who cared around anymore. I was really disappointed by this and felt shocked and surprised. Then we moved on to our next port-of-call as it were. There, his behaviour worsened. He would have full-blown shouting sessions at me often in places like the car where people couldn’t hear him and these moods could be triggered at the drop of a pin.
I began feeling scared to say anything and felt very isolated. I started to network a little and make new friends. I got a couple of part-time lecturing contracts and began to feel happier. He was working away a lot at that time and I began to get used to functioning by myself. I saw a doctor and a psychologist and they both suggested I am in relationship which is in some ways abusive. They told me husband seemed to enjoy the idea that I’m the ‘crazy woman’ and wants a reaction. They told me to stop shouting back at him and crying and to see what would happen: they said his behavior would probably notably worsen as it was he who was angry and would be annoyed that I was no longer ‘playing ball’ and giving him an excuse to shout. They were right. When I stopped reacting, his behavior got worse. It was almost like he’d say things to make me react and it was difficult not to, but I stuck to it. One particular example was when I suggested some friends of ours didn’t seem to want to meet us one evening. I thought it might be because they felt an allegiance to an ex-girlfriend of my husband’s, which I didn’t feel was necessarily unfair on their part. This triggered a full-blown 3 hour long argument. He shouted non-stop in the car for two hours, parked off and jumped out of it, and ran around in the street. In his defence, I have done similar things in the past, but not for a good couple of years. I realised that sort of behavior was not acceptable and not a way to solve things, but he continues to use my past behavior against me, almost as if it is his turn to act ‘crazy’ now. I finally got him to calm down and we headed to a restaurant and had a nice meal. Ten minutes into the car ride home he told me he was buying a truck. I told him we’d talked about it and that we’d agreed now wasn’t the right time. This triggered the second huge shouting tirade from him. This sort of thing would happen at least 4 times a week. His behavior to me continued to worsen and he would pick fights and yell at me all the time. My landlord and landlady told me she was thinking of asking him to leave the house as all she ever heard him do was shout at me. So, in other words, it has been bad for a while. He often says he gets angry because I ‘never listen’ to him.
In January this year, shockingly, my husband was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour. He had emergency surgery and we didn’t know if it would be the c word or not. It was the worst time of my life. I would say it was the worst time of his, but he seemed to handle it very well. I was so proud of him. He seemed to hold it together more than I did, but he made me feel guilty for being exceedingly worried and crying etc. I understand that this was just because he was trying to hold it together, but it made me feel like a coward. He and I got through it-my mother came out to visit, his mother came up but left after two days because she wasn’t the centre of attention, which I thought was beyond callous. His stepfather and father have been very supportive and were there throughout. Two days before his surgery, at the stage when we didn’t know if it was benign, he told me he was angry he’d wasted the last two and a half years of his life with me ‘making him miserable’. This made me feel awful. What he’s referring to is the fact that back in London I was always living on the edge between jobs and not knowing if another contract would come in. It made me miserable at times but I do not remember myself as the woman he paints a picture of me as: I feel I was a happy, healthy woman with joy and hopes in my life. About a month after the surgery, he told me that I only stepped up to the plate for him when he was ill because it gave me a sense of purpose and that I enjoyed it. I can honestly say I can’t even understand how he thinks I ‘enjoyed’ something like that. It was awful. We are only young (early 30s) and I am/was terrified. I also felt it was unfair because I feel that after I’d had my panic I was resolutely strong. Even his family remarked on how calm and supportive I was. I wanted to crumble but I didn’t.
Anyway, after the surgery, we moved state again (his job means we move around). This time, we moved into our own home. It was the home he lived in with his ex-wife previously and if I’m honest I’m not a fan. Again, not really relevant but just context. He recovered very quickly and again I’m proud of him. He went back to work after a month and has been incredible. I told myself his personality change last year was linked to the tumour. But his behavior is bad again. The day we moved into our new house he launched a long shouting session at me because I’d said I thought we were selling the set of pans his mother gave us as we already had a set. He told me I couldn’t play a CD in the car and just makes me cry a lot. I booked us in for marriage counselling and him an individual counsellor. I feel I give accurate representations to the counsellor but that he does not. I have tried to make excuses for my husband. I tell myself he’s scared about having to change job role if there’s any side-effects from the tumour (there aren’t but his employer is specialist so any problem and you’re switched about). I tell myself it’s because he’s still afraid and feeling alone and getting over everything. I have tried to be supportive. But honestly I don’t know if it is that. He tells me it’s just because I never listen and it’s all my fault. He ignores me every night and watches videos and continues to spend money on collectible cards. have been struggling to make ends meet freelance writing and feel what he spends I can’t, so I have to earn my own way. He just tells me to put it on the card but if I did that and he carries on buying these card things then we won’t put much into savings each month. One of the more humiliating incidents was three weeks ago. I needed my b12 vitamin jab (I have pernicious anaemia so I take it every 3 months) and he was angry because I said there was no need for an alcohol swab and I felt so rough I would rather just have the jab then wait another day. He was so mad that I 'disobeyed' him that he came at me with the needle in a threatening manner, saying 'come on then, I'll give it to you!'.
I digress again. The point is 2 weeks ago he had a three month scan and they said it looked clear but they wanted to do another in 6 months just to be certain. This scared me and I didn’t like how the surgeon worded it-he seemed a little concerned over an area. My husband’s behavior hasn’t got better and my mother and his own father have told me he treats me badly. For my part I haven’t been easy to live with. I find it hard to settle here, have serious career concerns and find being away from my mother difficult. I am sick of being talked down to and being ignored and am considering moving my 2 month break to the UK forward by two weeks. The problem is, what sort of person am I that I would even think of leaving someone who could be ill again? We aren't expecting any bad results, but I feel like I shouldn't even be thinking of spending more time away. Am I wrong? Am I a terrible woman? I sometimes feel I am just running scared as I can no longer take the stress of everything. I found out today I didn’t get a great job I interviewed for and it was kind of the final straw. I realized I wanted it because it meant getting away from being treated badly. I need some advice and please just tell me what you think and not what you think I want to hear. I'm also aware people don't have time to be writing lengthy posts back like my own. Sorry it was so long and thank you in advance for any replies given.
I don't usually answer relationship threads - perhaps because I feel I'm no expert! - but didn't want to read and run, and was just really saddened by your post.
No, wanting to get away from what sounds like a miserable living situation to be with someone you love and have left for the cause of that misery does NOT make you a bad person.
You don't have to martyr yourself to your relationship. It doesn't sound as if either of you are happy, and I can't gauge what this man expects of you. You've upped sticks and done what he wants and supported him through his illness. To treat you badly is just that - treating you badly. You haven't earned that. No one deserves it, for the record.
Do you want to stay in this marriage? Forget about the tumour for now. Does it look like this dynamic is here to stay, and if so can you imagine a lifetime of it.
My instinct is that you deserve so much better
Any chance you would consider moving back to the U.K. Permanently?
You don't sound happy in the US work wise and he sounds awful. I did think maybe the behaviour could be due to the brain tumour so maybe talk to his doctor. But I think you will have many years of awful and need to take steps.
Wow, I can't believe your response. You actually don't think I'm a terrible person. I can't believe it. Thank you for writing to me. I really felt I was being incredibly unreasonable.
You seem to understand what I'm going through. Thank you. That's the thing-I did up sticks and it was hard but felt I made a half-decent job of it. I feel the behaviour won't stop anytime soon, no, if I'm honest. So you don't think this is all my fault?
And yes, I was considering moving back to the UK but I'm worried I can't find work. I think that's why today was so hard. It was a shot at being who and where I wanted to be again and I thought it would remind him that I have my own career and can make my own money and that he might be a bit more grateful for me. We'd talked about me moving to the UK and having a long-distance marriage for a few months if the job was worth it, but unfortunately the job I was rejected for today was at the University of Oxford-a one of a kind post and not one I'll ever get close to again.
Sorry I've just realised how 'doom and gloom' I sound. I'm ok. I know in many ways we've been very lucky and things will pick up and I don't sit permanently feeling sorry for myself. Just a bad day today. Thank you ladies. I do want to stay in the marriage but I feel nothing over than a break will make him stop disrespecting me. Yes, I agree he doesn't seem happy either.
Regardless of the cause of his moodiness and temper, some time apart while he deals with it might be good. His coping mechanism obviously doesn't rely on close emotional support from you.
How long have you known him? When did the grumpiness start? Do YOU attribute it to the tumour? Either directly or because he is struggling emotionally more than was initially clear?
We have no children (sorry if that means I shouldn't be on here-I just wanted to speak to someone)
There are plenty of non-parents here. We even allow the odd well-behaved man in
Two thoughts - one is it sounds as if he has fallen into the habit of using you as an emotional punching bag for his own anxiety. This is not ok, tumour or not. Two, is his behaviour change linked to the tumour? I think not.
You sound as if you are both unhappy. Why would you give up your career and time with your mum to be abused and unappreciated? Compare your life as it is now in the us with a life of being free, single and doing whT you want to do in Uk? Which one makes your heart sing?
sorry about the Oxford job
By the sounds of it, you could be unemployed in the uk or unemployed in the us.
Where would you prefer to live?
It does sound like you are his emotional punching bag and unless he is will to go to councilling and really work on things then I don't see that staying will help your own mental health.
Sorry about your job. Must be gutting.
I think you need to get back here, plan to stay here and look for work once you are away from this abuser. It would be in good time to apply for jobs starting this September/October.
This sounds horrendous. Go home. You are not a bad person. He has pushed you away. You are most certainly not a failure. You have done so well in the face of considerable adversity.
The man you married treats you appallingly. That is not OK. In 15 years of marriage we have never had a single argument like you describe happening regularly. We have felt very strongly and disagreed but nothing like you described. Not once.
He is abusing you. He sounds vile.
My exH had a car crash and sustained a head injury. This TOTALLY changed his personality and he became very angry and unpredictable. Nothing I did was right.
He was emotionally abusive to me.
Did I blame the crash and associated PTSD? Yes. Did it stop me leaving him? No, it didn't.
Your parents recognise that he is not a nice man.
Go home and look for a job in the UK. You don't owe him anything.
Where did you learn that being treated with respect was unreasonable? Have you spoken to his doctors about his personality change, could that be a result of his brain tumour? Right now he has support from family and you don't? His behaviour, even if it's a result of a tumour, is impacting your mental health and you are allowed to prioritise that.
Come home and give yourself some much needed time and space.
He's been married before, what happened in that marriage, do you know?
Maybe it's not the brain tumour that's making him behave like this, maybe it's because you are alone and powerless now. Abusers often ramp up the abuse when a woman is pregnant for similar reasons. You poor thing, you sound like you need a break at the very least, possibly a permanent one. He's treating you like this because he can. Take that power away from him.
Come home, if you were my daughter and I knew you were going through this I would come and get you. You need some time away from this damaging relationship to consider your options. Don't get caught up about the Oxford job, lots if people apply to Oxford for study or work and don't get accepted. They go on to have great lives. You will find something that is right for you. But that is all in the future, right now concentrate on coming home and sorting out your personal life
You're married to a cunt, love.
Run back to the UK as fast as your little legs will carry you.
You will always find support on here.
This sounds awful for you.
You need to start disengaging from this prick.
Do you want this for the next 10-20-30 years?
Do you think you deserve this kind of treatment?
Of course not. No-one does.
I'd be getting back here ASAP.
Will your mum help you get back and set up over here?
Honestly - book flights - one way!
Let him shout at himself or some other poor schmuck - but not you anymore.
In the mean-time if he starts shouting, then just leave the house.
Walk away from him.
Oh my lovely, go home asap OP! He doesn't deserve such a lovely, talented, articulate lady as yourself. You're doubting your ability to find work because, in my opinion, he's slowly chipping away at your self esteem and self worth. He sounds vastly insecure and the comments you have made about his mother explains a lot. Walk away x
Come back home mate.
Fuck it, live with mum & get any old job & be happy.
He sounds like a total shit to be around
I agree with the poster who said if you were my daughter, I'd come out and get you.
Time to plan your departure, OP. He's not the man for you.
Millions of men on this planet.
Is this one worth all this angst.
I doubt it. Move on, for the love of God. Go home, stay near your Mum. be open to new relationships.
For a bit of context, I was with my first Husband for 20 years. Took me ages to leave (too long to go in to, but he was wrong for me). I am now re-married to the most AMAZING man. No rows, very loving. You need to jump ship. xx
Frontal lobe tumours cause personality changes.
No excuses if it was anywhere else.
Save yourself, OP, come home.
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