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how to resolve a difficult situation(9 Posts)
I have posted a couple of times in the past but have name changed for this because I think my old name could out me. I am in a really difficult situation and cannot see a way out. I will try to describe the position.
DH and I met 25 years ago, when I was in my early twenties. He was 17 years older and divorced with two children. Despite it being 2 years after the divorce, there was still a lot of bad feeling and an ongoing custody battle. Move forward a few years and we married and had two children.
I struggled to establish a career – DH was very supportive in quite a controlling way – we work in the same profession (that is how we met) and he always felt he knew how I should proceed with my career. At first I was willing to accept “guidance”. However, as time went on, either he became more controlling in all areas of my life or I became less willing to be controlled. It felt as if I always had to justify anything I wanted to do, whereas, for example, he was at liberty to take part in hobbies two or three times a week.
When the children grew up and left home, life should have got easier but about 5 years ago things started to get really bad. I had made good progress at work but it was very stressful and DH felt I was concentrating on the wrong things even though by then I felt I had a better understanding of my precise role than he did. He tries to get people to do what he thinks is appropriate by talking at length (eg for hours at a time). I find it difficult to cope with this. We were having several arguments a week and I was getting very distressed. In the end I felt in danger of losing my sanity and walked out 18 months ago with just a suitcase of stuff.
After a few weeks, I found a small house – where I am still living. DH was understandably keen to discuss the issues with me but we kept going round in circles and I found it very hard to cope with discussions that he dominated. I knew the situation had to be resolved, i.e. we needed to either reconcile or divorce but it always felt too difficult to deal with. About 8 months ago I started a relationship with another man. DH asked me if I was having a relationship with anyone and I admitted that this was the case. He initially said that he still wanted me back and would even be willing for an open relationship. He is now putting intense pressure on me to agree to stop my new relationship – within the space of a few minutes he alternates between telling me that he loves me and urging me to spend the night with him and essentially threatening to destroy my career.
Reading this it would seem straightforward that I need to let him know that the marriage is over, but when I try to say this he stops me and I am actually very frightened of how destructive he could be. I switch between being frightened and feeling sorry for him – I know he loves me. I now feel I am being stalked. My new partner is lovely – not necessarily a life partner but a decent person who would be badly affected by trouble with my DH. DH has not met my new partner, who works away a lot. Also, I feel really bad for DH – I have changed a lot but he has changed less: he thinks I am swapping him for a younger man, but this is really not the incentive.
I do not know how to move things forward. I am finding the current situation intolerable and do not feel safe but can't decide if I am getting things out of proportion. I cannot "vanish" and start again because the nature of my job means that I could easily be tracked down if I got a job elsewhere. Also I want regular contact with my grown up children (who I am very close to).
Sorry this is so long. I have missed out a lot of stuff so it isn’t even longer or too identifying.
Any advice would be really welcome.
Is it his words you fear, or his actions?
You don't need his permission to divorce him. I would start proceedings, if I were you.
I think you should begin divorce proceedings. I would also have a think about a few key people in your field who you trust and who have robust networks- and have a word with these people regarding the threats your H has made. You'll find that word spreads quickly. I doubt your H can really do you harm. If he gossips about you, people will just think he's a batty old codger tbh.
He is abusing you, just to be clear. Threatening to destroy your career and that of your new man? That's a crime he's committing right there. I think you might benefit from a chat with women's aid.
He sounds properly vile. Of course you feel sorry for him but that's because you have an attachment to him. If you were observing his behaviour objectively you'd be disgusted. As you should be.
I think once you talk this through with an expert in domestic abuse you might find you have many more choices than you first suspected.
You do not need him to agree that the marriage is over. Do you realise that? How he feels doesn't mean anything. The marriage is already over. You can divorce him. It's done - whether he wants it to be or not.
Please get some advice from Women's Aid and also some legal advice. Your husband is still trying to control you with his threats and intimidation. Don't feel sorry for him, or guilty, you have a right to get on with your life free from his attempts to manipulate, threaten and control you.
Take those threats seriously, and look at the legal steps you can take to stop him.
You shouldn't have to go into hiding. He needs it made clear that his abusive behaviour is unacceptable and wrong.
Thanks for the responses so far.
I think I am getting so caught up in the mess that I am having difficulty in working out for myself if he is being abusive or just desperate to rebuild the marriage. I know he still cares for me and I can't help feeling sorry for him.
It is really helping to have some other opinions.
From something he said yesterday I have a feeling that he might be able to track me - this can't be from my phone so would have to be the car - have looked online and am going to go outside shortly armed with a torch and do a search for devices :-(.
Wow - you need to divorce this man and pronto.
Please do contact Womens Aid.
They can put you in touch with local services that can help you.
Also contact 101 and tell them about the threats.
Get it on file so when he tries to 'ruin your career' you have the threats on record and can get it sorted out quickly.
This man is vile. He's an abuser, pure and simple.
Get him out of your life.
Womens Aid, then 101 ask for the domestic abuse team.
This is not normal.
Do not feel sorry for him.
He is doing all he can to make your life a misery.
OK, so it looks as if I am being paranoid now - have and a good look over and in the car and can't find anything. need to get things into perspective. Might try and contact Women's Aid for advice as suggested above.
I am having difficulty in working out for myself if he is being abusive or just desperate to rebuild the marriage
Do you understand that both of these things can easily be true at the same time? Abuse is rarely something people set out to do intentionally. It's often, even usually, a highly emotional reaction to a situation that the abuser feels they're losing control of. People abuse because they want things to go a certain way, and will do anything, even very cruel things, to try to retain control.
It sounds to me like he wants the marriage to continue, and that he is pulling out all the stops to keep you confused and vulnerable so that you don't leave him. That's abuse plain and simple.
My EA ex told me once that he had quote "tried to break my legs so I wouldn't run away". I.e. he'd been controlling and awful because he knew it was the best way to keep me under his thumb.... and he wanted me under his thumb because he was so insecure he thought that love alone wouldn't keep me in the relationship. Very sad, but still abuse and therefore still behavior that I had to get away from for my own mental health.
He is highly abusive and you NEED to get away from him. Please do talk to WA and look into getting counseling if you can. You need professional help IMO. He has done a number on you.
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