Not sure what to do

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2014
Not sure what to do
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 11:11am

I have been married to my second husband for almost 20 years.  He is 14 years younger than I am and  I love him dearly.  I worked my butt off, sold my house and helped him complete a doctorate. I moved 3 times to three different states with him gladly but it took a toll on my retirement.  I know better than to believe a man totally but he told me not to worry we would always be a team, and we would put more into his retirement to make up for what I lost changing jobs all the time.

When we got to our current location about 10 years ago, I found a job I liked and then we had a change in management.  It was the job from hell to start with, then he decided to go to my office and make a scene.  Needless to say I needed to leave after that. Combine that with a major health issue and my stress level is through the roof.  I agreed to help him keep his office in line and his finances in his lab.  I also help run a summer program he has.  This morning he went off on me because I had not done something he felt I should be doing in his office.  He was screaming, told me he "had a 1000 things on his plate and didn't have times to deal with my issues".  I felt stupid and useless.  He has a very short temper, he has never hit me, but he has broken dishes (he did that this morning when he was angry with me) and he has horrible nightmares where he comes out swinging when I wake him up.  I know he is under a lot of stress being the only wage earner ( I was like that the first few years we were married and he was in school).

When I was working 50 hours a week he used to come home early, do the minimum at the office and had lots of free time.  Now, I admit, the pressure is on him for a change to bring home the bacon.  He makes me feel like a burden who costs him money.   BTW he hasn't done a thing around the house or yard since I quit working I do it all.  Nobody knows we are having issues and he has kept me so close that I don't have many close friends anymore.  My family is in another state, (what little I have left).

I swore if I married again I would never divorce, but I am really scared.  I am terrified of what will happen to me if we do, I don't have much savings and I could see myself homeless.  I am crying as I write this, for heavens sake putting all this out to people I don't even know, how desparate am i????

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 11:27am

It is very sad that you are in this situation. First of all, I think you should get a consultation with a divorce lawyer--it doesn't mean that you have to get divorced, just that you can get information on what might happen.  Since you have been married 20 yrs, it's likely you would be able to get alimony, plus you would get a division of property (house?) plus be entitled to some of his pension.  It's unlikely that you would end up in a situation where he would have a lot of money and you would be homeless.

You might also want to contact a domestic violence hotline or shelter in your area.  Your DH sounds abusive, even though he hasn't physically hit you--yet.  He has an anger problem and he has also isolated you from friends.  Do your current medical problems totally prevent you from working?  If so, maybe you could apply for Social Security disability.  If not, maybe you could at least get a part time job so you wouldn't feel totally dependent on him.  When people get married, it's an expectation that they will provide mutual support---you never know if someone is going to get sick or lose their job, so he shouldn't be considering you a burden just because you aren't working.  Plus are you working in his office for free?  He should be paying you if you are providing services that he would otherwise have to pay someone else to do.  If he is not satisfied with how you work there, then maybe he should just hire someone else and leave you free to get a paying job--maybe it's too stressful for you two to be working together as well, but I think the real problem here is his anger.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2014
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 11:54am

I hate to see a lawyter yet, I want to make this work if I can.  He has many good traits but had a very disfunctional childhood.  His family is seriously messed up in ways that would take a book to explain.  Because of his student loan debt, we don't have much in iterms of equity in our house.  We have put all of our ehxtra money in his retirement which is quite large. The University matches what we put in up to 10 percent.

You know for the longest time we had a really good marriage, we were happy and things were wonderful, it went south after I quit working.  My health is not good and this stress is making it worse.  I should try for disability I am 59 years old so it is possible to get it I think.  I have good days and bad ones, my doctor would clear me for part-time I think, if it didn't involve lifting.

HIs anger is the problem, he has never been able to make friends, he has professional contacts but not what I would call friends.  I have a few here but it is hard to make them when he wants me home at night. I really don't see him ever hurting me physically.  Right now is emotional and I'm not sure I haven't caused it by quitting the job.

Thanks for the advice, I may call my friend who is a lawyer back home, she handled my first divorce (he left me for someone he worked with).  I came out of that totally broke and brought myself back to life.  I am strong, just don't feel that way at the moment.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 12:42pm

Hi Tigger and welcome to the board.  

My DH still fights through childhood issuses, also.  So I hear you on that one.  

Trying not to write a book here, but I can relate somewhat to what you are describing.  It is tough, because it is important to own our part, yet not be a doormat either.  

I think that any time one spouse is working and the other is not, there is potential for resentment.  Or even when one makes more money than the other.  And this is heightened in a second marriage.  

Me and DH are walking through our own financial stuff right now.  All I can really say is that it took a third party (financial advisor in our case) for my DH to kind of sort of see our combined income.  We have had a few heated conversations, but each one gets a little calmer and more productive.

Here is the difference though.  We have been together 8 years, but just got married last June.  And I still have a DD14 at home.  And an active xH.  

I am not going to condone breaking dishes as a great way to vent steam, but I believe you that you are not fearful of physical violence.  My DH is arnrey, but I am not afraid of him.  

I don't know that anything I have said is helpful, but just so you know that others "get it."  I was talking to a friend and said '"I feel like DH wants a house wife that earns a full-time income."  She laughed and said "yea, don't they all?"  

I think men in general carry pressure to be the main breadwinner.  Just something in their genenitcs.   Not all men, but many.  

Enough babling out of me.  If he is open to seeing a marriage counselor, that would be great.  If not, that's okay, but you may want to go on your own.  Or maybe if is relating this all to money, maybe he would see a financial advisor.  I know the one we saw definately understood the dynamic of second marriage.  I don't know, it helped me and my DH alot.  

Keep us posted!

Serenity CL making a marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 1:42pm

Hi, have you actually sat down and talked this over with him?  If you don't feel that you can, considering past and present issues he has, then bringing in a third party is crucial.  What is also crucial is that you start connecting with others again, unless he's physically restraining you, there should be no reason why you can't visit friends and family.  You will need as many people on your side as possible in case anything happens.  You need to talk to others about the situation.  We are strangers and while we can give advice, we can't actually do anything to help you.  You need to start standing on your own two feet again, it seems like you've allowed your husband to dictate your life, and it's not working.  Start making slow changes and see how he reacts to them, if he reacts positively, that's great, if not, then may have to start moving towards getting away from him.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 2:48pm

When I see a wife who says "he wants me home at night" so I can't make friends, that is a huge red flag for me about abuse.  You can be an emotionally abused wife even if you aren't physically abused.  Every person should have the right to have friends and to do things they want to do.  I am not saying that you go out every night when you are married, but you should be able to have female friends and participate in adult activities without him getting mad at you.  One way to control someone is to make sure they don't have friends or a support system.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 04-10-2014 - 6:43pm

I should add that I agree that it is important to have activites with other women, or without your DH.  And he if makes a bit stink then I do think you have bigger fish to fry than money issues.  

I used be a real hard nose about being independent.  I swung from being physically abused, to f*** all of you, I don't need any of you, to now learning how to be an individual within a marriage.  

For example, I am currently gone one night a week.  I picked up an old hobby I had stopped doing and missed.  My DH does not take issue with me going, but he does prefer if I have some kind of dinner made before I go.  There have been other evening committments that my DH has not necessarily been thrilled with, but there is no way in heck he would suggest I not go.  

Years ago I would have told you "scr** him, do what you want when you want" but I know now that will not help heal a marriage.  It is crucial you find some friendship or hobby, or something outside of the home.   If you have some options, ask which would work better for the two of you.  

With all of that said, if you truly feel he is intentially moving you around, or intentially KEEPING you from having a social life, then I would lean towards telling you to talk to a divorce attorney and make a plan, just in case is not willing, or not capable of changing.  

Here is where I think the difference lies.  In all fairness, my DH likes me home at night, or going out together.  On my days off when he is working, he doesn't really care what I do and is knows I really enjoy it when I can catch up with girlfriends, etc.  An abuser will want to control what you do, even when he is not there.  

Good luck and keep us posted!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Wed, 04-16-2014 - 1:06am

I always wonder when I read red herrings like, he has no friends. So? My DH doesn't have friends and he is happy and okay with life. That is his choice. You need to do two things - stop helping him with his business. Tell him you love him and the marriage is too important. You need him to find ways  to control his anger and you know he is better than that. (has he always been that way? if not, remind him that he knows how to be a fantastic husband). Y

Find other ways to deal with the stress. I is already causing him to change, the last thing you want is him drinking or doing other unhealthy things to do with it. Maybe you could get some library books on massage and practice on him? And then get out and enjoy life with your friends. You deserve the support. Don't feel guilty because you are not working - you STILL deserve it! It may be you think he minds, but he might enjoy the quiet time (especially if he prefers not to have friends?) Also, find women around during the day - maybe a walking partner?

Change is just around the corner! Hugs, Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2010
Wed, 04-16-2014 - 8:03am

I'd talk to that lawyer friend. You're probably entitled to half of everything, including the retirement fund, whoever's name it's in. I don't think alimony is usually granted anymore, except for during a short transition period. But obviously you have some job skills and it's not hard to keep some kind of roof over one person's head. I don't think you'll be homeless.

What is this that he came to your job and caused a scene and got you fired? And throwing dishes and trying to keep you away from other people, oh my. Marriage counseling sounds like a great idea. It sounds like there are a few things that really need to be straightened out there.

And then the money problems. Can you get some kind of job, even part time? It might be good to get out and around other people besides him, and even a few hundred a month can take the strain off. Also, have you considered downsizing or other ways to cut expenses?

Just a few thoughts there, but you've probably already thought of them yourself anyway. Hope it all works out for you.