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So unhappy, but so stuck

(5 Posts)
eightiessouldiva Fri 24-Jul-09 14:16:08


I don't think I can ask for advice because I don't think there is anything I can do about my situation but I would be grateful to off load. I'm sorry it's a bit long

I have been married for over 20 years to a man 16 years older than me. We have two sons (17 and 19)

Our relationship has always been a bit up and down, mostly due to my total lack of self esteem and his critical and controlling ways, but bringing up the kids seemed to dilute the problems (he is a very good father although the boys now find him hard to live with also - can't see their point of view etc)

Around five years ago, things reached a head. I came to the conclusion that our marriage was miserable and loveless and I became fed up with being constantly criticised and undermined. The problem was, I was (and still am) the main breadwinner and he could not have maintained himself financially alone.

I felt so guilty and also so sorry for him that I stuck around when I should have been stronger for both of us and moved out.

Anyhoo, things have got a lot worse, so bad that I often cry my eyes out because I don't want to be in the same house as him.

THe really bad part is that 18 months ago he was diagnosed with a slowly degenerative disease which will get progressively worse in the next few years.

I know this will sound incredibly selfish, because my heart really bleeds for him in many ways to have been dealt this blow, but I feel absolutely stuck in this situation now

I do care for him in many ways, he is not a horrible man and has been very supportive at times, but we are like strangers to each other - polite and detached, no love or affection

Any thoughts would be welcome. I think I know that there is nothing to do and I should just accept the situation but today is one of those really 'blue' days

Thanks for reading

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 24-Jul-09 14:29:08

No, you still do not have to accept the situation even now. Its never too late to make a fresh start, its only too late when you're dead!.

So he is ill now with a degenerative disease but ultimately you are not responsible for him. He has never treated you with the respect you deserve either. His critical and controlling ways have undoubtedly contributed to your overall lack of esteem; this is why you have stayed because you've been too afraid (understandably) to leave.

So what if he could not have financially maintain himself if you had left?. That's his problem. You have to let go of the notion that you are responsible for him - you are only responsible for your own self.

You may want to read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft. Controlling men are often angry men as well, it is not at all surprising to me that your sons have a difficult relationship with him. He'll pick on them too as well as you.

I would also think your sons have picked up on all the underlying tension between you two over the years, they likely think also that you'd be far happier if you left him and perhaps wish you had left him years ago.

MorrisZapp Fri 24-Jul-09 14:39:56

Oh dear.

Please don't stay with this man out of duty or pity. It's desperately sad that he has this condition but his behaviour over the years has been his own choice.

It is never too late. My gran had 20 years of a full life after my grandpa died, not that he was controlling he was just boring. You can reinvent your life and start pleasing yourself for once. You may even meet somebody else.

Would your kids support you in leaving him, do you think?

eightiessouldiva Fri 24-Jul-09 15:03:25

Thank you for your replies,

What a relief to be able to pour your heart out and not be judged - thank you

ATM you are so right, my kids were desperate for us to separate. Not the usual reaction you would expect but they DID see how destructive the relationship was

MZ, I am not sure how the kids would feel right now as they know how difficult their father is to live with but with his illness and them about to leave for collage and uni, maybe not so sure.

It is so hard to know what to do. The guilt thing is the worst. My mum left home when I was 11 and my dad was devastated. Could I put him through all that? If I don't though, I feel like I'm sacrificing my happiness.

And I know this is a bit selfish too but I worry what friends/family/neighbours etc would think of a woman who left her 'health compromised' hubbie?


MorrisZapp Fri 24-Jul-09 15:14:11

I know how hard it is to leave somebody, I think we all do. But it won't get easier by delaying it for years and years, meanwhile life is happening out there.

So what if some curtain twitchers say 'ooh she left her ill husband', they don't know your relationship from the inside and it's just gossip for them to get their teeth into.

You are the only person responsible for your happiness. Please don't be one of the thousands of women who lets life drift by for fear of causing upset if she dares to live for herself. You've done the hard part of child raising, now you are owed some payback.

It's your turn.

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