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Hi, Everyone. I have been a lurker for a long time and I was hoping I could get some advice and insight on my troubled marriage.

I will try to post this in an unemotional way even though I’m in a very upsetting situation and I cry constantly. I have walked on eggshells for 25 years. I had hoped he would mature as he grew older, but unfortunately things have gotten worse. I’m worried he may be a psychopath or a narcissist or very mentally ill. I need to figure out a plan to save my sanity as I don’t think a divorce is possible right now due to financial reasons.

His behavior is scary and bizarre. He will not go to a mental health professional. I have asked him many times. He says I have the problem, not him. I see a psychiatrist because of the horrible panic attacks, depression and anxiety from my marital situation.

We are both 48 years old, together over 25 years, since we were 23. The kids are all grown. Our youngest is 22 so I don’t have custody issues. Neither of us drink alcohol so I can’t blame his behavior on that. We live in New York State.

There is nobody that can hold a grudge like he can. He can give me the silent treatment for months and years over the slightest thing. It is very stressful to be around him when he is giving me the silent treatment.

Money is another problem. I’m not working now because of an illness, but I was the main breadwinner during most of our marriage. If he wants something, he just buys it, even if it’s a $35,000 new truck. If I need to go somewhere, he comments, “That will cost me $5 in gas.” Or he will complain about a $1 McDonald’s drink, like I’m asking for his kidney or something. But he drinks at least 15 cans of Diet Pepsi a day. He claims to be a “pop alcoholic.”

He works 3 days a week (12 hour shifts) and has 4 days off. He will not take me to the grocery store or the bank and if I ask, he rolls his eyes and makes comments like I’ve asked him to drive 100 miles. The grocery store and bank are only a mile away. We don’t have Uber in my area or my life may be a little easier. Taxi service is outrageous and unreliable.

He is gone from morning until night on his days off and will not tell me where he goes. He never offers an explanation. If I ask, he says, “Are you trying to piss me off?” and stares at me menacingly. I have reason to believe that he’s operating a business on the side and hiding the money from me. He is a mechanic and I found some business cards in our truck, advertising his “vehicle repair” service. He always has his tools in the back of our vehicle and his cell phone is constantly ringing. He denied he has a business and looked at me like I was nuts when I mentioned it.

A few weeks ago, he left his phone home by accident when he went to work and the phone rang all day. I answered it like 6 times and all the callers were people wanting their cars fixed. One guy said, “Your husband saves me so much money! I refer all my friends to him.”

He generally gives no response when spoken to. Not a grunt, nod, “really?” or “wow!” No acknowledgement at all. When I repeat myself, he snaps, “I heard you!” I think he does this to gaslight me. I’ve tried to come up with all sorts of excuses for his behavior. That he’s just thoughtless, that maybe he doesn’t know how to behave in a marriage because his father left when he was 3, even that maybe he’s just stupid.

He says I’m a B word, but I hardly say anything to him. If I ask a question like “What did you do today?” I could get my door punched in or the remote control smashed. As a result, I try to only discuss the most crucial things with him and he still yells and screams. He’ll say, “Do you want there to be a problem?”

He gives me this cold hard stare that makes me think he wants to harm me, but he's never actually hit me.

He is constantly staring at me, observing me. It creeps me out. When we go out, (which is very rare and very stressful as I have to be on my guard all the time) he constantly corrects me. He makes fun of how I pronounce words and makes comments about my clothes, like,"What the he** do you have on?" with a scowl.

I’ve tried not saying anything other than pleasantries, having his dinner ready, ect. In hopes that he won’t have an angry outburst. But then he started saying he could sense that I had a negative attitude and going crazy anyway.

He loves to threaten to punish me (punishment is generally by silent treatment and breaking stuff).

Our sex life is terrible. We rarely have sex. We didn’t have sex for 11 years, between April 2004 and April 2015. But then his brother died and he wanted to have some sex to release stress because he was having trouble sleeping because he felt guilty because he went to the waiting room at the hospital to take a nap after they disconnected his brother’s life support. He feels he should have made a better attempt to stay up since he knew his brother wasn’t going to live long off the respirator and was going to die that day. He did wake up from his nap in time to be there for the last rites.

When we do have sex (not in the last 9 months again), he only wants oral sex on him and no gratification for me. When I was a younger woman, it bothered me. But I’m older now and in menopause and sex is the least of my problems. Obviously, with his behavior, I do not want to have sex with him. However, I know it is my duty and I have never said no. Which sounds extreme, but he really isn’t that sexual, we have it very infrequently and this has been the case our whole marriage, even in the very early days. At one time, I was convinced he was gay because of his complete lack of interest in sex.

I don’t think he’s having an affair. I know he enjoys watching pornography online.

I got shingles last year and asked him to come home because I needed medicine and he went nuts because I spoiled his golf game. And then he punched in the door, threw the laptop and some Corningware at me.

He has filthy personal habits. I am so ashamed to even post my story and have people wonder why I have stayed with him so long. He picks his nose constantly and then wipes his finger on the bed comforters or the couch. He masturbates all the time. And then denies it. He says he’s the only man in America who doesn’t masturbate. Even if I walk in and catch him in the act. He loves to gaslight me and say I didn’t see what I know I saw.

He refuses to wash his hands after he goes to the bathroom (even #2) and goes nuts if I say anything. If he visits someone in the hospital, he won’t wash his hands either. He told me that he never heard of someone washing their hands when they leave a hospital. He also says that he doesn’t believe in washing his hands at all.

I used to ignore it, but I was diagnosed with lupus in 2013 and the high dose of steroids I had to take for the flare ups has caused me to become diabetic. So infections and bacteria are a concern.

When he has a cold or flu (which is often because of the no hand washing), he refuses to cover his mouth when he coughs, won’t take cough suppressants and just blows his nose on his sleeve or our comforter.

He says it’s my problem, that I’m a germaphobe!

His filthy habits are so over-the-top that it makes me wonder if he is trying to deliberately repulse me.

I don’t bother to mention it anymore because he just gets scary if I mention anything anymore. I try to use a lot of Lysol and take Airborne to try to minimize catching anything.

Everyone thinks he's a great guy, but they don't know how badly he treats me.

I’m wondering what others think of my marriage and if they think it’s an abusive relationship. I’d appreciate any advice as I’m very desperate. There is a constant tension and negative energy in the air that makes me feel physically ill and stressed all the time. We are going on vacation next week and I’m nervous because I know he’ll be correcting me all the time. I’m always standing in the wrong place, almost bumping into something, ect, according to him.

There is a lot more to my marital problems, but this post is getting too long. :) Thank you for reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for responding, EleGirl. I feel so embarrassed to post, I joined and started reading this forum a year ago and that's how long it took to put up my post.

I do receive disability, but not enough each month to actually leave. I've trying to see if there is something else I can do, maybe online.
 

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Thanks for responding, EleGirl. I feel so embarrassed to post, I joined and started reading this forum a year ago and that's how long it took to put up my post.

I do receive disability, but not enough each month to actually leave. I've trying to see if there is something else I can do, maybe online.
Solving your finances is your first order of business. Some ideas…..

Your husband is emotionally abusive. You are disabled which makes your more at risk in this type of relationship.

Get into counseling at an organization that help victims of abuse. Besides giving you someone to talk to who can help you learn to deal with your situation, they usually have resources that can help you.
For example, they should know of organizations that help disabled people become more self-sufficient.
One of my sisters worked for years (her retired last month) for organizations that helped disabled people find jobs that matched their skills. What they did was to contact companies to find positions. Then once the person was in the job they would help the person get up to stuff at the job.

Organizations that provide counseling for victims of abuse often also have a list of local attorneys who will work pro bono for a divorce. Often they will ask the judge to order the other spouse to pay their legal fees out of marital assets.
Depending on how much disability you get, you might be eligible for food stamps (EBT), low income housing, cash assistance, etc. Have you looked into any of this?

Do you have access to any money other than your disability?

What kind of disability do you get? Is it SSI? SSDI?

One of the things that you need to do is to find out what your husband is doing with his time. If he has a business, and it sounds like he does you need to find out details about it. There are ways to do this. It might be a cash business or he might have an account where the money is going.

There are things that you can do to find out what he’s up to, where he goes every day, where he’s keeping this money (it’s 50% yours). Find out all this is important to prepare for leaving him. I can, and others here, can give you a lot of info on how to find out what’s going on with your husband.

Do you know if you are in an equitable distribution state or a community property state? That would be good to know.

If
 

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You are absolutely being abused. What a disgusting human being he is. What do your kids think about how he treats you?? Does he treat them the same way?

Just walk away one day while he is at work. Seriously. Walk out the door and don't go back. Go to a shelter for women, or to a relative. (one of your kids, maybe??)
 

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Sorry you are in this terrible situation. He is an abusive bully maybe not physically but definitely verbally and psychologically.

What is the kids' relationship with him like? Was he a good father? Acceptable? How do they feel about him?

Is it an option to stay with one of your kids, temporarily, until you can get a small place of your own?
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Good for you for posting. It's obvious this was very hard for you. This is a great first step and if you take the advice given here, you'll free yourself from this prison.

You need to get into therapy to see why you wasted 25 years of your life with this guy. Talk about huge regret if you don't end this sham. But the good news, you're only 48. You still have plenty of time to find a good man and enjoy the companionship of a real relationship. Enjoy real passion and love. It's a wonderful thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
He's a d0uchbag and an abusive a55hole and you need to get out. Money is useless if you lose your sanity or life. Personally I would say go to a woman's shelter and don't look back and let them help you to get help.


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Thank you for the advice. I do feel like I'm losing my sanity. I appreciate your descriptive words regarding my husband. Those are 2 words that describe him very well.

I’ve thought about shelters. I’ve thought about just leaving. But I’ve read articles and books about shelters and with my health conditions, it doesn’t sound like something I can do. I'm sure there are wonderful shelters, but the ones where I live aren't too great. I read a terrible story in the New York Times about a woman who was being beaten at home, so she went to a shelter and she feared for her life even worse at the shelter. I do keep a packed backpack under my bed, just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Your husband has no redeeming value. He barely qualifies as a human being.

Why are you thinking of leaving him after 25 years? Why didn't you leave him 25 years ago? This is not a rhetorical question. I'm really puzzled.
I wish I had a good answer for this. I guess I just hoped things would get better. My mother told me that men often get better when they get older, so I hoped that would happen. But things got worse. And he told me things can get a lot worse than they are now. He barely speaks any more and his behavior is getting scary.

You are right. He doesn't have any redeeming qualities at all. I feel real stupid. I wish I had left after the first year.

A lot of little reasons, none of them good enough. There was always something that held me back: the house, the kids, my pets, family pressures, money. I have wanted to leave. My psychiatrist has asked me the same question. I have searched the internet and read books to try to find out. I guess I must be codependent. Stockholm Syndrome, trauma bonding. I really wanted to have a happy outcome. He knows how to play me, temporarily acting like he wants to make things better, and I fell for it, every time.

Every time I am about to leave, something happens. Like a broken tooth, a huge bill, a family issue.

I also rationalize that I’m not getting beat up physically.

I guess I’m hoping by posting this thread that I will see the absurdity of my situation and be motivated to take action. A typical day for me is just sitting around and crying. I know I need to figure things out.

I made a list recently of good points/ bad points. And I had 3 pages of bad points, but I couldn’t think of a single good point.

I feel a huge amount of pity for him, although this has dwindled after I read, “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. He had a very awful upbringing. Father abandoned him. Drunk mother who died of cancer when he was a teenager. His mother would just leave him and his brothers at an aunt’s house or grandmother’s house for years at a time. He grew up in the bad part of town, raised on welfare and I grew up in suburbia. So I think I have guilt. I always had the feeling that he wouldn’t be alright if I left him. But now I’m thinking, why should this be my problem? The situation is intolerable.

But I was going to leave him before. I faltered when his brother got very ill and eventually died in April of 2015. I was very close with my brother-in-law. And his brother knew how he was. When his death was imminent, I made a deathbed promise, because I thought that was the right thing to do, that I would take care of his brother. But my brother-in-law said, “I don’t want you to walk on eggshells.” Then he told me to punch my husband in the face.

The funny thing is that you would think he would have changed for the better after his brother’s death, and he seemed to, for about a month. But then he really lost his mind. He wanted to do all these bizarre things.

My attitude towards the situation changed after reading Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? I discovered this book from a thread on this forum.

He has lived in our (unfinished) basement for years at a time, rather than leaving. This is creepy having someone live in the basement. I think it would have been better if he had left. I would have gotten used to being alone, which I am pretty much anyway.

I feel like the idiot of the world.
 

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You are absolutely being abused. What a disgusting human being he is. What do your kids think about how he treats you?? Does he treat them the same way?
Yes, he treated the kids badly. Very absent emotionally. Basically left everything to me. Never taught them how to drive or even to ride a bicycle. He enjoyed calling out youngest child into the living room and screaming at him, “Are you a F (gay slur word)?” or freezing the television screen on a gay person and asking him, “Is this your gay lover?” Our son is not gay, but for some reason, my husband is obsessed with the idea he is. He doesn’t do this anymore as son is 22 now and is much bigger and stronger than he is.

If he talks abusively to me, my son will yell at him and say, “Treat my mother with respect, you animal!” But then my husband will say I turned the kids against him and they need to respect him and not question what he does. But that’s not true, the kids are smart and can see what’s actually going on.

The kids want nothing to do with him.
 

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Good for you for posting. It's obvious this was very hard for you. This is a great first step and if you take the advice given here, you'll free yourself from this prison.

You need to get into therapy to see why you wasted 25 years of your life with this guy. Talk about huge regret if you don't end this sham. But the good news, you're only 48. You still have plenty of time to find a good man and enjoy the companionship of a real relationship. Enjoy real passion and love. It's a wonderful thing.
It was so hard to post about this. I was lurking for a long time, but I finally decided to just post. I've been in this situation for a long time. Our relationship was never good. Basically it was a work romance that would have never gone anywhere if I hadn't gotten pregnant.

My mind is really messed up and confused right now. My psychiatrist asked what would make me happy. I can’t say that I’d ever want to get married again. I guess my dream is living somewhere peaceful, maybe with one of my kids and my cat. I need to get my head on straight. I don’t see a therapist, just a psychiatrist who prescribes valium, which does help. I know I need some counseling.
 

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EleGirl,

Thank you so much for the suggestions. I'm not really sure what happens financially in a divorce in New York. I really should talk to a lawyer to see what I would be entitled too. He doesn't make very good money at his regular job. About $30,000 a year.

I am hoping to get better and return to the workforce. I used to enjoy working.

I need an exit plan.

The side business is very upsetting. He loves to lie and sneak. I feel like I need to find out about the side business because it’s been going on so long. He doesn’t have a bank account. Either he spends that money on something or he hides it.

He’s very street smart and generally can’t be followed or watched. My sister and I tried it once with a rental car. I don't know how to drive so he knows he can do whatever he wants with little chance of me finding out.

The ideal situation would be for me to figure out a way to ignore him, until I can find out about the side business and have a good plan to leave.

I’m afraid to ask for anything. Like dental care. Or to take my cat to the vet. When the cat needed to go to the vet earlier this year, he was mad that it cost $200 and said, “No more cats for you.” He’s petty and mean.

I wonder if I did the math how it would work out between what I’d get in a divorce and how much I’d save by him not living with us.

There was a time when his brother was still living in his apartment but needed help and my husband was actually living there for a few months and only came home when he needed something from the house for a few minutes and it was quite wonderful. Very peaceful. Good energy.

I’m tired of living this shadow existence where I pretend that everything is okay.
 

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Thank you for sharing your post. I'm also a lurker and you inspired me to finally register! I feel like my advice is different from most of the replies on here and hopefully I can help you.

First of all, marriage is hard. It looks like you might be looking for an easy way to justify getting out of this relationship. I hope you reconsider.

Is it possible that you are, in fact, a germaphobe? You mention that your husband masturbates. This seems fairly normal. You're husband may not be intentionally gaslighting when you catch him pleasuring himself (and he denies it). It's possible that he is touching himself reflexively or unconsciously. Try to assume the best in your husband, rather than the worst. 0:)

Your husband appears to be an alpha male. You should embrace his masculinity if you can. He tells you what to do because he is looking out for you. Would you rather he let you walk in front of a truck? I know symptoms of Lupus and Menopause can be absentmindedness. Again, it may be necessary for him to keep reprimanding you. I feel like this is probably more annoying to him than to you.

One thing I find curious is your assertion that you believe he isn't having an affair. I caution you that if he isn't getting what he wants out of the relationship, this is possible. It appears to me that something sneaky is going on. Some of the replies advise you to try to figure out what he is doing when he is gone. I think it is apparent that he is keeping a secret. You need to discover what he is hiding or else you won't be able to fix it. If he is having an affair (which you don't believe he is), you don't want him to fall in love with another woman. That would severely limit your options at making things better. It could be HIM that leaves you, rather than the other way around.

I also agree that you need to find out if he is keeping money from you. The secret business is disturbing. His cheapness seems to indicate that he doesn't feel you are "worth" spending money on. Show him that he is wrong. Encourage him to want to share his business and money with you. You'd be surprised how changing your attitude will improve his.

The fact that there is no physical abuse gives me hope that this marriage can be saved. Of course, mental abuse can be very devastating too. We don't have enough details to know if you're dealing with mental abuse or just be overly sensitive. It does seem like you are taking positive steps to minimize conflict like using Lysol rather than always having something to say when he does something you view as "dirty".

I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Consider it like a 2nd honeymoon and a chance to reconnect! :smthumbup: Although the past 25 years haven't been as happy as you'd like, the next 25 have the potential to be wonderful. Imagine celebrating your 50th anniversary with this man one day. Isn't that worth a little work? :toast:
 

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Yes, he treated the kids badly. Very absent emotionally. Basically left everything to me. Never taught them how to drive or even to ride a bicycle.

Ok, I posted my reply after only reading your original post. After reading all your replies, it appears your relationship is in much worse shape than your original post revealed.

I feel like my advice needs to be revised. I did not mean to imply that you might be contributing to the problem. A man that has never taught his son to ride a bicycle? Making an issue about how much you spend on your cat? That is extremely rude. I absolutely adore cats and you can not put a price on the unconditional love that they give you. That's very emotionally abusive of him to threaten "No more cats for you". Threats like that go beyond being an alpha male.

You've gotten some good advice already. I am a strong believer in making a marriage work but hopefully people will give you financial options. I know nothing about alimony. You need to find a way to split the secret money (if there really is any) in the case of divorce. You'll need more money than you think with your illnesses. Plan accordingly. You may need to take your beautiful cat and your son and leave. I would never give up my animals for anyone. :mad:

Your husband sounds like a terrible man. :crying:
 
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