I’m Thinking of Leaving My Husband
Writing recently for the Guardian, Adam Price has noted:
“Unionism’s Better Together line carries with it the not-so-subtle subtext of a married couple pondering the upheavals of divorce. Of course, unless there are four people in this marriage – a domestic arrangement that not even the most liberal Cameroon would sanction – then that relegates those of us in the rest of the UK to junior partners, hapless children cowering upstairs as the crockery of state is smashed to smithereens. Presumably London will sue for custody, though we’re not quite sure.”
Thinking along the same lines, and confusing us with some sort of Agony Aunt, Scotia
I hope you and your readers can help me at a difficult time in my life. I’ve been married for what feels like centuries, and now I am thinking of leaving my husband.
He’s much bigger than me and sometimes I feel swamped, or threatened or simply taken for granted and ignored. I’ve changed and grown and now want different things; but he’s changed too. He used to me more caring but I don’t like the new friends that he brings home – they’re all rich and selfish and I think they secretly despise me for my working class roots that I’m still proud of.
We’ve drifted more and more apart over time and now I feel there’s very little holding us together.
My friend Alex has been telling me for years that I should leave, but it’s pretty clear he wants me for himself. He’s full of happy promises of better times and holidays, but I’m not so sure he’s right for me. My other friend Patrick doesn’t tell me what to think, but asks me what I want from life – and that’s quite hard when you’ve been so undervalued all these years.
I thought I had some other friends, but it turns out they were more his friends and they’re taking his side in all of this. Ruth, Joanne and Alistair especially are always moaning at me and I end up feeling weak, confused and stupid; and they make me feel it must be my fault that the marriage isn’t working, and that just makes it worse.
I am really torn. Part of me just wants to leave him, make a clean break and we’ll work out how to bring the kids up…though some of them have left home already (one’s a nurse and one’s a teacher) and the others would do fine, I’m sure. Even my ‘used to be’ friends admit I could afford it on my own, and my divorced friends are mostly doing fine.
But other times I feel I should stay…I think of all the things we used to do, the times we traveled the world together, though nowadays he only seems to drag me to some fight he’s got us into.
And just when I think I’ll definitely leave him, he does those eyes and promises he’ll change and it will all be different from now on honest…but he’s said that lots of times before and nothing’s changed, though I’m almost fooled and then I hate him and I hate myself for being fooled
He’s put a shed up in my part of the garden for his guns, even though I’ve told him I don’t want them here.…and he’s been stealing things from the house and selling them to his rich friends – the other day I found he’d even sold my Grandad’s stamp albums I was looking after for the kids. Some time ago, he forced me to clear one of the kids out and she had to go abroad. He filled her room with woolly parasites that ruined the carpet. I don’t trust him any more around the home and with the kids, and he just ignores our parents.
It was a forced marriage. I’d invested badly and lost a lot of money. I allowed myself to be convinced by a bunch of rogues that getting hitched to the man next door was a good idea.
For a while it worked out. But although he had a bit of money, he wasn’t very organised. So guess who ended up running the house, managing the money, planning all the foreign trips and doing all the thinking? I was quite inventive!
Was he satisfied? No – with him, it’s always take, take, take; even when I’m the one with the well-paid job. I feel he resents everything I’ve done for us and he hardly pays me any attention except when he wants something. Doesn’t he know I’ve got NEEDS?
Sure he’s here when it suits him, but I’ve been doing more and more to look after things myself – and d’you know what? Turns out I am good at it and now I just want him to butt out and stop interfering and let me get on with life.
Now he’s getting all his big and scary friends to say I’m rubbish and they won’t be nice to me if I leave him. But that just makes me more sure that I want away from what HE calls a relationship and find a different way of living where it’s not about power and threatening behaviour.
His moany ‘so-called’ friends won’t give me any useful advice about how to make things better. They just try to scare me into staying but we all know things just can’t go on like this. Even if I did stay, I’d want changes but I don’t see any effort on his part to even think about it.
Would it be enough for us to have separate bedrooms or split the bills perhaps? But he’d still be there in the kitchen; demanding dinner, leaving crumbs and dirty boots for guess who to clean up. I know deep down he’ll never change, and that I need to be strong, but part of me still loves him and hopes that we can be the way we were.
It’s all so difficult. I want to be strong and do the right thing for me and for the kids and I don’t want to hurt anyone.
I am in your hands,
You are not alone! As you say yourself – if you look around, you’ll see many of your friends are divorced and most of them are thriving and have got their energy and independence back.
And you will not be friendless! You’ve seen how he throws his weight about and upsets everyone – many of your neighbours would be delighted to have you as a friend and they would make you very welcome in their club!
You could do all the things you’ve wanted to for years. You could throw the woolies out and use that room again for living in. You could tell him to take his guns out of your garden. You have your own independent income and can use it on the things that YOU want, not the things he makes you spend it on. And you’d no longer get dragged into his horrid pointless arguments.
I think you’re right to be cautious about this other man. He’s obviously very keen on you, but you have options and you might not want to rush straightaway into another relationship with someone who thinks he knows what’s best for you.
Look around and speak to your other friends who are interested in what’s right for YOU. There’s no rush – you’ll be a very wealthy woman so why not spend some time being single again and enjoying your freedom while you work out what you really want!
The future’s always scary – but it’s also exciting. It is very common for people who’ve been in a bad relationship to doubt themselves and to over-worry all the ‘what ifs’…
Ask yourself: Are you happy being scared of what he might do to you? Think of what you could achieve if you didn’t have to worry about pleasing him all the time.
You’ve already found out who your true friends are, and there are many more, waiting there to help you stand up for yourself. You are very capable and you know you are. And you may find you like ‘him’ more if you’re NOT married to him!
I can’t recommend you to stay or to leave, but I do recommend you to think hard about what’s best for YOU and those you care for; and then you’ll know what to do.
And now I invite our readers to offer their suggestion about what is best for you, dear Scotia.