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I feel like I don't know which way is up anymore. I have been married for 10 years. We have 4 children.

My husband is sarcastic (that I can handle) and passive aggressive. The later has eaten away at me over the years. I feel like I can't do anything right. Like I'm on high alert for his next dig. He had really battled with anger issues (not violent, just grossly critical and angry). He has toned down on that and focuses more on the passive aggressive comments instead.

Example: I cleaned the entire bathroom. Organized the cabinets into bins. In doing so I move the Q-Tips down a drawer. I heard him searching and shared where they are. He says, "Great, so I can reach even further." Isolated, this sounds like a silly reason to be done, but imagine every day... Every interaction is handled in this way. I truly wish he could say, "It hurts my back to bend down that far - could we please move them back?"

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He doesn't like people or social gatherings. I was so happy to get our big house, but it feels wasted because he gets pissy and makes me feel like I want too much if I suggest we host anything. I have stopped attending other events because he gets aggravated at me asking. He can behave like a jerk (most people think he is).

I filed for divorce last September. He moved out. It stayed that way until January when I dropped the case and took him back. I felt he was seriously trying. He was finally listening to me. He was being nice. And I missed him.

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When we met he was in a 6 year relationship. He tried to be with me anyways. I declined. Over. And. Over. He finally left her and I agreed to date him. I knew that he was willing to cheat on his ex... And even that he had several times... But I felt special. He made me feel special, so I thought I would be different.

A year in I was told he had been texting our downstairs tenants things like "Could you hear us having sex? Did it make you want to come join?" When I saw the messages (the girl shared them with me) I left him. But he convinced me to come back. I said to myself that it wasn't "technically cheating" and he swore he knew where the boundaries were and wouldn't cross them again.

Then, 3 years ago, a friend of ours gave me red flags. Anytime we were all together she would bring the topic back to work (they work together in a small office) and make it about inside jokes. I shared with him my concerns. He promised he would remain professional. Then i found the texts. He had a new phone so there was only a 3 day history. But there were things like her sending a selfie and telling him she got the shirt thinking of work. He said she looked hot. She said it was see-through. He says, oh I like it even more. She called him babe. And he told her she was smart and sexy. I lost my mind. I left him again. And again he promised it would never happen again. His remorse seemed so sincere. He said there was nothing there, that he never touched her, and that he just liked the attention. I forgave him.

Then last year I found sexual texts ("Should you laugh while orgasiming?") to his therapist. There were other off things there. He denied them until I showed him evidence. Then he apologized and said it was about me. Fine, talk in session but it feels very wrong to message your therapist those things. Of course, I forgave him. It never felt like enough to leave.

Now, this past week. I was laying in bed and saw him create a fake snapchat account. With a false birthday and email I don't know. He added the girl he had messaged how hot she was. He KNEW she was very off-limits. There was not question he knew how bad this would hurt me. Snapchat is the perfect platform to have intractable interactions. He claims it was a mistake but that he only did it because he knows her screen name. He was just testing the app and didn't know what it was. He knows he was wrong.

I asked for a divorce. I know that this marriage isn't healthy. I know I should leave. But as soon as I think of the reality of leaving him... I panic and want to take it all back. Why is this so hard for me? My friend just divorced and while it sucked she didn't doubt herself the entire time. Why am I struggling? Why do I see all of his great qualities when things hit the fan? Why can he be so amazing and so ****ty?

There is a clear pattern. He ****s up. Becomes the man I dream of. Supportive. Kind. Listens. Loving. Affectionate. Then it fades. He becomes angry. Passive aggressive. Then something bad happens and the cycle repeats.

(I left my job a few months ago to be home with the kids. So that adds to my complications)

I don't know what to do.
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Getting the acceptance phase that your marriage is over is the hardest part. You'll get there, I think you're very close. Do friends/family know what's going on? If not, it's time to start opening up and stop hiding your failing marriage.

You have given him no real consequences for his actions. He knows you'll take him back. You need to follow through and kick his a$$ to the curb. You need to expose what he's done to everyone in your family, even the kids if they are old enough. Next, you need a job to support yourself and your kids. Then file for divorce and don't look back. Life is too short to be in a miserable marriage. Don't stay just because of the kids.

You found a great forum. You'll get a lot of advice from people who have walked down your road or going through it as well.
 

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"He becomes the man I dream of"...Hun, you cannot live with a "Dream". They're not real. The reality....which you realized when he attempted over and over and over to ask you out..is pretty ugly. That's why you initially said NoNoNo.

Therapy! It's better to be alone than be in a bad relationship (or marriage). If he is incorrigible, then the issue isn't him so much as it is your inability to let go. Issues with loss? Separation?

Therapy...
 

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I've been there with a relationship like this, the lather, rise, repeat is harmful... still have the scars that show now and again and get in the way of being mindfully healthy.

Believe in yourself... you are not going to build any additional self-love, worth, or respect where you are at, in time you will begin to see yourself as broken when you are not.

My spouse at the time used belittling as a power... your's seems to have mastered it to an art form.

You won't win, and that's a good thing... it means you are kind, compassionate, and hopeful and cannot return the darkness back at them, but that compassion needs to be used for you. The hurdle on this path is you have to choose another path to walk down, one without him. I cut my losses after I realized I could easily become that, but she helped me find that path with her betrayal, your's is a step away from betraying you... his sexual innuendos in text and office are predatory, this is not just bad, this is detrimental to anything it touches.

You have a wonderful heart to forgive, time to stop forgetting and allowing him the freedom to have this control. Remember, forgiving is for you...

Boundaries are sometimes finish lines... race past this one by beginning preparation for a life rebuilding the love you have for yourself and your children... you have little to lose and everything to gain.

Peace be with you...
 

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His behavior is the typical cycle of abuse. Make no mistake - he knows what he is doing and he knows you will always take him back. He also knows (not thinks) you are a fool. All he has to do to get back in your good graces is pretend to be your dream man and you fold like a cheap suit. He has no respect for you.

Is he the man you want to be a role model for your children?
 

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OP the answer to your question is in your second line. You have been married to him for 10 years, and have 4 kids. You sound like a lovely person, and THAT is why it so so hard for you. I am sorry for what he has put you and your family through.
 

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No, your not special to him, just what he wants at this point in time. He'll milk you till someone better comes along, and then do to you what he did to his ex.

The reason it's so hard is you're holding onto who he could be, if only he wanted to be that person, and was willing to put in the work necessary to overcome his flaws.

When he's nice to you, and is Mr. Perfect, it fills you with hope, and makes you think him changing is possible. Not only that it's possible, but that he is changing. That things really aren't that bad.

The reality is that he is who he is today, and you can't continue to be in a relationship with who you hope he'll be one day. He's chosen to consistently demonstrate that you aren't important to him, and that he is not committed to becoming a good man. However sad and heartbreaking that reality may be, however easy it would be for him to change - all of that makes no difference. For whatever reason, he's made the choice, and you can't force him to be a good person. Accept the reality of who he is, and react accordingly.
 
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His behavior is the typical cycle of abuse. Make no mistake - he knows what he is doing and he knows you will always take him back. He also knows (not thinks) you are a fool. All he has to do to get back in your good graces is pretend to be your dream man and you fold like a cheap suit. He has no respect for you.

Is he the man you want to be a role model for your children?
QTF. Exactly this.
 

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This is a pattern and he's not going to change. Ever.

You're just scared of the change and that's perfectly normal, but you deserve better than this.

Get back into the work force so that you are financially independent.
 

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If you have sons, they will model this behavior in their relationships.
If you have daughters, they will seek this kind of relationship for themselves.

Get out. If not for YOU, than for THEM.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I really appreciate you all taking the time to read my story. I'm grateful for finding forum. I needed to share and to hear outside perspectives.

I know what I need to do. I just need to maintain that strength. No going back this time.
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I found once I finally told everyone how miserable my marriage was, it was like a burden was lifted off my shoulders and I could finally move forward to being happy again. Don't keep it a secret anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm in therapy. I really didn't realize how messed up my thinking was until we hit marriage counseling about two years ago. Private our counselor told me he was passive aggressive and verbally abusive. I was shocked. I dealt with so many terrible things when I was young that I didn't catch his behavior on my radar.

I'm in private therapy now too. I believe that is what had given me the strength to realize I don't want this anymore. While I know I deserve better rationally... I'm working on believing it.
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They have thought our marriage was a wreck for many years. I was pretty surprised. I had told them about our issues last September before I filed.

When I took him back I felt silly sharing things with them. I broke that this week and told them. It did give me a sense of strength. Thank you.
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