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My husband controls everything I do from spending money, furniture for our house, how to discipline our kids to where will go to dinner.. etc.. We have been married for 16 years but somehow just now realizing the control issues and that he has always basically treated me like a child. Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, what did you do? I really think it is time for divorce. I’m not happy at all! Advice please!!
 

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Would you stay if things changed? Have y'all talked about this? Have you considered discussing this with a third party--maybe a marriage counselor.
 

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I would say he's the monster you created. If he treats you like a child, 16 years is a long time to act like a child. That's just saying if he treated you like a child, you acquiesced and were complicit in that dynamic, so he became accustomed to acting like your father. Being married to a controlling spouse has to make a person miserable so if you're just now recognizing it, I'm wondering what has recently happened that made you notice and made you particularly unhappy. You're upset about it right now, and I think it would be unfair for you to want to divorce without giving him a chance.

My suggestion would not be to think about divorce at the moment. Think instead in terms of talking to him about it and not allowing him to control you anymore. Make the effort to transform your marriage into a mutual agreement proposition, at least as far as things that should be agreed upon, such as disciplining the kids. It doesn't have to go your way or his. Look up websites and books on raising kids that is appropriate for your children's age ranges to guide both of you. Deciding to follow the advice of professionals can limit the incidences of contention and resentment between the two of you.

Spending money can be agreed on by implementing rules, such as "We agree that any amount over $100 (or $500 or $1000, whatever amount you and he agree to) has to be discussed, and expenditures of lower amounts are for individual discretion.

Other things can be agreed on too, and some things you just have to refuse to allow him to dictate. But, because he's so used to being the dictator, it probably won't be easy for him to grasp your new assertiveness, so you have to be determined and confident about it. You don't want to give him the impression that you're asking his permission. You just have to show him you aren't going for it anymore and mean it.

If he responds angrily and refuses to accept you making your own decisions, then you will know you have an abusive husband on your hands. That's when you start thinking about divorce and actually going through with it. Nobody has any business staying with an abusive spouse. And you will have to act quickly so he doesn't have the time to get mean. Being controlling and allowed to be controlling isn't a terrible thing when both parties are complicit in that dynamic as you have been. But being confronted with your refusal to allow it any longer and your intention to change that dynamic to remove his power over you in favor of your own decision-making freedom could induce abusive tendencies in him. And the more power he loses, the more those tendencies will escalate. He should be agreeable and cooperative in the newfound you but if he refuses, then it's time to go.

Just a note to suggest that if you are a SAHM and financially dependent on him, then wait until you get a job and are able to move swiftly just in case you have to. It wouldn't make sense challenging him and possibly creating a volatile situation if you are in no position to flee at a moment's notice. Honestly, if you are a SAHM you should get a job anyway. I just believe in women making sure they are and remain financially independent, if for no other reason than to avoid situations like this. When you're financially independent, you're less likely to be controlled or afraid to assert yourself.
 

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We have discussed the controlling issues and him treating me like a kid and he said he wouldn’t treat me like a kid if I didn’t act like one. For instance, I lost my wallet not too long ago and he started yelling at me and said that’s not a mistake I should make.. We got married when I was 21, young and oblivious to how he treated me like a kid. The older and more mature I became I started realizing this isn’t what a marriage should be. Honestly, I just thought it was normal. We have gone back and forth for 2 years talking about divorce. He doesn’t want one but he won’t change. He also does steroids and I asked him to please stop bc I felt like that was hurting us too. He refused.
 

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We both have full time jobs. He handles all the finances so feels like I should come to him before buying anything. He questions me about money spent on lunch and why I paid that much for lunch, etc...
 

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We have discussed the controlling issues and him treating me like a kid and he said he wouldn’t treat me like a kid if I didn’t act like one. For instance, I lost my wallet not too long ago and he started yelling at me and said that’s not a mistake I should make.. We got married when I was 21, young and oblivious to how he treated me like a kid. The older and more mature I became I started realizing this isn’t what a marriage should be. Honestly, I just thought it was normal. We have gone back and forth for 2 years talking about divorce. He doesn’t want one but he won’t change. He also does steroids and I asked him to please stop bc I felt like that was hurting us too. He refused.
I had asked you how old your husband is for a reason.. so how old is he? His age could impact how I respond.

I asked you a few other questions as well. Could you please answer them?

Has your husband ever lost anything?

Being controlling is a kind of emotional abuse. Him telling you that he treats you like a child because you act like a child is abusive. Marriage is a partnership. The two of you are equal.

I've was married to a guy who was very controlling. There was no shortage of put downs, insults, etc from him. I'm no longer married to him. I get what you are going through.

It sounds like the only way that your husband might change is if you let him know that you are filing for divorce, or you actually file for divorce. Are you willing to do that?
 

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We have discussed the controlling issues and him treating me like a kid and he said he wouldn’t treat me like a kid if I didn’t act like one. For instance, I lost my wallet not too long ago and he started yelling at me and said that’s not a mistake I should make.. We got married when I was 21, young and oblivious to how he treated me like a kid. The older and more mature I became I started realizing this isn’t what a marriage should be. Honestly, I just thought it was normal. We have gone back and forth for 2 years talking about divorce. He doesn’t want one but he won’t change. He also does steroids and I asked him to please stop bc I felt like that was hurting us too. He refused.
He abuses drugs (steroids) and will not stop.

And he yells at you.

I'd normally suggest counselling, but would he be interested in counselling? If not, you need to consult a good divorce lawyer.
 

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It's very obvious who has never had a controlling person in their lives, because they are so glib about your situation. I know what it is like to have something become such a way of life that you lose your agency, and it's not because I acquiesced. Give me a freaking break

Changing this dynamic in any way will likely freak him out, and if he has ainger issues This could be dangerous. At most, I would ask him to consider marriage counseling with someone who is qualified in anger management issues. But I really agree more with Matt. This is a man who is not going to change if you are nice and have a sweet talk with him. Do you have a good support system?
 

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I suggest you detach as much as you can and show him your are perfectly capable of making your own way.

If you want to really push it open up your own bank account and have your check deposited there. You can ask your husband how much you need to contribute to pay the bills but ask to see the budget.

That may be to much for you right now, but at least start establishing your independence. You are not his property.

Also the anger and the steroids need to be put in check, but really that is up to him, all you can control is yourself. If you are really unhappy you have to change your situation.
 

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My spouse has been controlling in our 20 yrs. I never really noticed it until I was called a 'saint' by others or even was told that they could never live that way. I also thought it was normal being he is the breadwinner. Yes, he usually picks out restaurants/vacations if we even go-- to me, I don't mind cuz it's just more 'peaceful'. He has even TRIED to order for the family instead of letting us speak for ourselves. He does not like me to know too much about fiances but I know bills are paid and there is no debt! About year 14 I really noticed his yelling and anger which I demanded marriage counseling-- he agreed to a few sessions then I started going for myself. It has helped a great deal and I do 'put my foot down more' in this relationship when he's unreasonable. In therapy they mentioned he had high anxiety which is why anger was involved. I expressed concerns with his parents and luckily they are 'talking' with him more which keeps him 'calm' for the most part. Our relationship is still odd but my main concern is getting these kids raised and off to college. I have a part-time job and do get out with friends and he has zero control of that which helps!

I would encourage marriage counseling. You are a grown woman who works full time-- no reason for him to be so controlling!! You are a team!! If he refuses to work on his marriage with you THEN yes by all means visit an attorney (I did as well). You can visit several for a free consultation. Best of luck!!
 

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Everytime I try to respond to a specific comment it sends me to one of thise iPhone virus sites. Anyone else have this problem?
 

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Also to answer one the questions. I am 36 and my husband is 40.
Ok, so he is only 4 years older than you. Sometimes, this older men treat much younger wives the way you describe. But that's not the case here.
 

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I have gained a little weight over the last year. I guess from all this stress.. stress eater. Lol. He has now started telling me my face is getting fat and he can’t believe I was wearing a bikini in July and had great body but now I’ve put on weight. I hired a personal trainer that I see 3 days a week and he also put me on a strict diet. Now my husband watches every bite of food I put in my mouth and lectures me if I eat anything that’s not on it. Not in a helpful manner, he’s tells me I obviously can’t stick to a diet so I might as well just quit. I feel like he should be a little more supportive and not tell me i have gained weight when I’m clearly aware of it.
 

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I have gained a little weight over the last year. I guess from all this stress.. stress eater. Lol. He has now started telling me my face is getting fat and he can’t believe I was wearing a bikini in July and had great body but now I’ve put on weight. I hired a personal trainer that I see 3 days a week and he also put me on a strict diet. Now my husband watches every bite of food I put in my mouth and lectures me if I eat anything that’s not on it. Not in a helpful manner, he’s tells me I obviously can’t stick to a diet so I might as well just quit. I feel like he should be a little more supportive and not tell me i have gained weight when I’m clearly aware of it.
Do not stop your diet. You need to learn to stand up to your husband.

For example, if your husband nit picks your diet, tell him nicely that what he is doing is not helping and to stop. If he does not stop, then stop eating with him. Tell him that until he can learn to respect you and your space, you will no longer eat with him.

Part of the problem here is that you do not stand up for yourself, you are not assertive. But it's a skill that you could learn.

Could you get into some counseling for this? You really need to learn to be assertive.

Do you have a job?
 

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I have gained a little weight over the last year. I guess from all this stress.. stress eater. Lol. He has now started telling me my face is getting fat and he can’t believe I was wearing a bikini in July and had great body but now I’ve put on weight. I hired a personal trainer that I see 3 days a week and he also put me on a strict diet. Now my husband watches every bite of food I put in my mouth and lectures me if I eat anything that’s not on it. Not in a helpful manner, he’s tells me I obviously can’t stick to a diet so I might as well just quit. I feel like he should be a little more supportive and not tell me i have gained weight when I’m clearly aware of it.
Controlling and incapable of providing support to his spouse?

Oh, come on, Matt! Say something nice about @Melissa Lou's husband!

OK. How about this? He married well, but he can't seem to treat @Melissa Lou in the decent, loving way she deserves.
 

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We have discussed the controlling issues and him treating me like a kid and he said he wouldn’t treat me like a kid if I didn’t act like one. For instance, I lost my wallet not too long ago and he started yelling at me and said that’s not a mistake I should make.. We got married when I was 21, young and oblivious to how he treated me like a kid. The older and more mature I became I started realizing this isn’t what a marriage should be. Honestly, I just thought it was normal. We have gone back and forth for 2 years talking about divorce. He doesn’t want one but he won’t change. He also does steroids and I asked him to please stop bc I felt like that was hurting us too. He refused.
We both have full time jobs. He handles all the finances so feels like I should come to him before buying anything. He questions me about money spent on lunch and why I paid that much for lunch, etc...
I wasn't glib. I stated the truth. You said yourself you thought it was normal. Therefore, you acquiesced until you began realizing it wasn't normal. Don't pay attention to her silliness. She doesn't know me and has no idea of anything I have experienced. She doesn't care for things I said, so now she's following me around the board with insults. It's personal for her but doesn't affect my opinions. What I said to you was true. You just hadn't offered this additional information.

For all the reasons I highlighted in your post, you should be speaking with an attorney tomorrow. Many attorneys offer free consultation, so call around until you find one. I know they just might be hard to find in some areas.

As I said before, nobody has any business staying with an abusive spouse, and your husband is incredibly abusive. This is what I eluded to before, I just didn't know he's already that way. You can go to counseling all you want, but nothing changes abusive people. There is nothing to do but leave. You said you've been thinking about divorce. Is that something you're willing to do, or are you afraid to go through with it?

Call 211 from your landline or mobile phone and ask for the numbers of 2 or 3 Domestic Violence shelter in your area. They are very helpful and accommodating. You're under no obligation or pressure to make any moves or decisions right away. All you want to do is talk to someone. Their staff members on duty will be happy to take the time and are the best people to advise you. They will also help you devise an exit plan, and they will be there for you if you need to leave in a hurry for some reason. Because you have been in this abusive marriage for so long and it's been so long that you began talking with him about it and asking him to stop/change, it would be best if you see a counselor. Marriage counseling would not be helpful because he's never going to change, but you do need to talk with someone as a survivor of abuse, and the DV shelters have access to free counseling. They will refer you if you ask them, and there are some that have counselors on premise.

Also, open a bank account and inform your payroll department to deposit your checks into that account. It might take 2 pay periods or maybe 3 for direct deposit to begin, but you will have and control your own income. This is something you have to do to begin your independence.

I don't think you should do much more than take care of your own money at this moment in time. You don't want to upset him on multiple fronts. Like I said, he will resent any steps you take toward independence, and the fact that he's on steroids is awful all by itself. He's going to blow up one day, so don't give him too many things to handle at once. The staff at the DV shelter can advise you from there. There are quite a few reasons for you to leave, but please know that him being on steroids is reason all by itself.

Something you really have to do for your own credibility later down the line because you will probably need it. Take the time as soon as you can - please don't put it off thinking it's not important because it's very important - and go to the police station and file a report. Go to your home's precinct. If you go to a different one, they will send you to your own anyway. Reports have to be taken by the precinct where any incident(s) occurred. You have to begin documenting the way he treats you. Even though there hasn't been physical violence that you told us about, you still have to report it so there is proof. I'm not trying to scare you. I just want you to know it's important to do it. It won't help you if you need it later and don't have it.
 

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I have gained a little weight over the last year. I guess from all this stress.. stress eater. Lol. He has now started telling me my face is getting fat and he can’t believe I was wearing a bikini in July and had great body but now I’ve put on weight. I hired a personal trainer that I see 3 days a week and he also put me on a strict diet. Now my husband watches every bite of food I put in my mouth and lectures me if I eat anything that’s not on it. Not in a helpful manner, he’s tells me I obviously can’t stick to a diet so I might as well just quit. I feel like he should be a little more supportive and not tell me i have gained weight when I’m clearly aware of it.
The highlighted areas are further reasons you need to get away from him.

Do not stop your diet. You need to learn to stand up to your husband.

For example, if your husband nit picks your diet, tell him nicely that what he is doing is not helping and to stop. If he does not stop, then stop eating with him. Tell him that until he can learn to respect you and your space, you will no longer eat with him.

Part of the problem here is that you do not stand up for yourself, you are not assertive. But it's a skill that you could learn.

Could you get into some counseling for this? You really need to learn to be assertive.

Do you have a job?
This is true and I know she's trying to be helpful, but you can't do this right now. The first thing to do is take care of your finances. Any more during this time will be too much for him, and you don't want to set him off. The steroids are eating away at his system and he would become violent at any time just for that, so the more he perceives your actions as threatening his power and authority, the more reason he will think you are violating his code of conduct that he set for you. Consider also how upset and fed up you are. You can't create more for your own self to have to tolerate from him. As it is, he already targets every reason he can find to insult and demean you. You have to be patient and inch your way out from under his control, which means to inch your way away from him. Again, talk with a staff member at a DV shelter. They will advise you similarly and help you through everything you need to do.
 
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