I seem to be the only one willing to work on our marriage

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2013
I seem to be the only one willing to work on our marriage
Fri, 12-06-2013 - 12:48pm

My husband and I have been having problems off and on for about 12 yrs of our 20 yr marriage.  It began 12 yrs ago when I found out he was going online and chatting with strange women and telling them I had died in an accident.  He was having cyber sex nightly.  From there it progressed to an affair with a co-worker.  When I caught him making plans with her on the phone I confronted him.  He blew up and said he didn't love me and had not for a long time.  He said I never had sex with him and that is why he needed to find it elsewhere.  I had 3 children, worked full time outside of the house and did EVERYTHING at home.  He would not even get up once in the middle with any of the children.  Therefore I was exhausted all the time.  He refused to understand that if he helped out a little I would be less tired and therefore would be more willing to have sex.  He would make a point of pushing me to have sex when I was either half asleep or at my most exhausted point so he could storm out of the bedroom and say, "See, this is what I am talking about!"  He is very passive aggressive.

He ended up not leaving and we attempted counseling.  He didn't want any part of it and would not work on the relationship.  He has always taken the easy way out of everything!  If something is difficult he gives up and takes a negative stance that  nothing will work or matter.  Drives me nuts!  

2 yrs later I suspect he was having another affair after picking up the phone and hearing a weird conversation.  I confronted him again but he denied it.  He lies about EVERYTHING under the sun so I still don't believe it.  Shortly after that he exploded and left me again staying it was a mistake to come back 2 yrs ago and that he didn't love me at all.  His entire family was behind him and said it was about time because they have never liked me.  After a long discussion about everything and he admitted he was very depressed.  We got him on antidepressants which seemed to help a lot.  He refused therapy because you know, "it would never work! " 

Around this time he starting having severe anger issues.  He would blow up over the smallest of things and go into fits of rage.  He was very rough with my middle son and took his frustrations out on him.  Never to the point of hurting him.  He would punch walls, kick things, throw things, cuss etc.  We have dents and holes all through out house!  The doctor said it was just his ADHD and told him to keep taking his pills.  I think he is just addicted to them so he made up the story about needing them to control his anger.  Believe me, it isn't controlled!  He continues to go into fits of rage.  If the dog pees on the floor because of a thunderstorm, he will go through the house screaming and pounding on things.  The poor dogs have PTSD now, as do I!  He refuses to get help for his anger saying that a therapist can't do anything for him and that his anger is normal.  He will quickly point out the times I became angry (no comparrison) and say that I have the problem.  Apparently, only he can get angry. Those of us who have rational normal anger (when the kids lie, no one cleans up etc)...we have no reason to ever be angry.  He just needs to deflect everything off him.

His porn usage has continued since I first caught him.  It has gotten far worse though and I believe he is addicted.  My oldest daughter has walked in on him during the day masterbating to porn in our living room.  She has found many dvds and magazines hidden throughout our house as far back as the age of 5!  She is traumatized by it.  However, despite the kids catching him, he still does it.  I tried to talk to him about it, but the minute I calmly sit down to discuss it, he flies off the handle in a fit of rage and lies about it.  He will lie about it even when we catch him red handed.  He has tried to blame the porn on the computers on our sons even.  The hidden magazines he will say have been there for years and that he just forgot about them.....despite the date being current.  He now sleeps on the couch at night just so he watch his porn.  He will stay up all night watching it and chewing tobacco then sleep all day if it's his day off.

This leads me to his excessive laziness!  He works a swing shift so his schedule is 7 days of overnights, 2 days off, 7 days of 2nd shift, 2 days off, 7 days of 1st shift then 3 days off.  When he works overnights, he will come home around 5:30a and go straight to bed.  He will sleep until about 3 or 4p, get up just to get the kids from school, come home and go right back to bed....telling us he is on nights you know!  He will not help with dinner and will stay in bed until he hears me serving dinner to the kids.  He will come downstairs, serve himself some food, gulp it down and go right back to bed until 30 minutes before he has to leave.  Because he is on nights you know!  I am left to cook dinner, clean up and help the kids with school work.  On 2nd shift, he will come home around 9:30p, eat dinner and wait till he thinks we are all in bed.  Then he will turn on the porn and stay up most of the night, watching porning, sneaking food (usually stuff I need for meals) and chewing tobacco.  If I ask him about the missing food, he will tell me the kids did it and that they lie about it.  He will then sleep until 30 mintues before leaving for work the next day at noon. On first shift he gets home around 1:30p and goes straight to bed because you know he had to be at work at 5am. He will usually sleep until time to get the kids then he will go right back to bed, sleep until he hears dinner being served then back to bed until I go to bed.  At which point he goes down on the couch and waits for us to sleep so he can watch his porn, sneak food and chew tobacco.  

On his days off, he will NOT move off the couch or out of bed.  He will bring the kids to school then go right to bed where he will stay until they have to be picked up again.  When I talk to him about doing something, he screams at me and tells me I just want him to be my slave and do all the housework. I remind him that I do it all as it is. At which point he tells me if that if I did it all there shouldn't be anything for him to do and that the house would be cleaner.  OK, I work full time, cook all the meals. grocery shop, pay the bills and care for our 3 children.  He doesn't know what our bills our, how much money we have, what the kids schedules are ( I tell him daily) etc.  I gave him a copy of our budget once and he crumbled it up and threw it out.  Budgets are meaningless to him....he spends $100s of dollars each month on soda, chew and junk food on his way to work every day, yet we struggle to pay our bills.  It doesn't help that his mom tells him he works so hard that he should not have to help at home.  Even when he was unemployed for the better part of 5 years, she told him I should be doing everything.  He loves to hear that!  I am just lazy!  

When he lost his very good paying job, he laid on the couch all day every day!  He didn't look for work, send out resumes, nothing!  I had to do all that for him. I have a cushy office job, so I sat at work all day looking for a job for him! I know I was enabling him, but his laziness was effecting our children!  I couldn't let them go without!  I was never allowed to talk to him about it either.  When I did he would go into a fit of rage and tell me he is not my butler and did not need to help out!  All of our arguments always go back to him saying I just want him to be my slave! I don't know how many times I heard him scream, "Get off my back!"  In other words, he doesn't feel as though he should ever have to help out.  His one main job was always laundry.  He did it off and on for about a year, now he will only wash his own clothes, sometimes the boys.  But never ever mine or our daughter's.  He had the nerve to throw a huge tantrum last night because the boys had to dig through a pile of clothes that completely covers our entire very large laundry room...apparently they messed up his mess!  I dont even go down there because it is so bad!  Several times a year, I will take a week off from work to catch up on the laundry....yes it is that bad!  

As I am typing this, I can't help but wonder why I have stayed all these years.  If I had a girl friend tell me this was happening in her life, I would say run!  I know he is emotionally and verbally abusive.  My children have suffered by living with it.  He has taught them that lying is OK, men don't need to help around the house and anger is the answer to everything.  I already see my 16 yr old son following very closely in his footsteps.  He will not get help.  I recently sent my 16 yr old to therapist who told him his anxiety issues are from his enviroment and he felt my husband was depressed.  This of course made my husband angry because there is nothing wrong with him.  One minute I hate him with every part of my being.  The next I love him and don't want to leave!  UGH!!!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010

You say that you cannot afford to divorce, but have you actually seen a divorce lawyer to discuss the situation? It might not be like you think. You and your kids may be able to stay in the house (where you said the mortgage payment is cheaper than renting) and your H has to move somewhere else. He can use the $100s that he spends on junk food and tobacco to help support himself and get a roommate somewhere----not your problem.

You say that your daughter is traumatized from the porn, your son was the target when your H was in a bad mood, and you have PTSD from the abuse, and you would advise anybody else to get out of the same situation. Yes, you are guilty of enabling your H to get away with this behavior for many years but you can change that. For your kids sake if not for yourself, take your own advice and start looking for ways to get that man out of your life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002

You aren't trapped, you are just used to living this way for so long that you think there are no other options and you are also in denial.  There are ALWAYS options, and once you start researching them, you may be suprised by what you find.  In the meantime, you should not only get counseling for yourself, but also for your children. Your children have to know that their father's behavior is not normal, and that families don't live the way yours does.  Your husband does not get physical, yet, what happens if he does?  That his behavior has been allowed for this long is a disgrace.  What would child services do if they knew about this?  This is NOT normal, you need a wake up call, living in denial is no excuse.  It's like those people I saw on television the other night who were living in a home with a huge hole in their ceiling and sewage in their kitchen.  You have to learn to care about yourself, then you will see that what you are doing is just wrong.  You can't help someone who doesn't want it, the only thing you can do is change yourself and your situation.  Do it.

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

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Then your only options are to stick it out with him and deal with the misery until the kids are done with school or to give up the house in exchange for your and the kids happiness. Yes I can put myself in your shoes and I know how hard it would be to give up your home, but if that's what it takes to get out of a miserable marriage and gain back your sanity then it would be worth it in my book. Sounds like you both are miserable and are just staying together for the kids and that's sad for all of you. Good luck though, in whatever decision you make.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

The illogical part in your argument is that you think you can somehow get him to understand he has problems and get help.  In his opinion, he has no problems--you are the one causing all his problems, so he has no incentive to change and will not change.  It's obvious that he's depressed but you can't force him to get treatment.  So you will be stuck like this until the kids are done with school, if that's what you decide to do--and honestly, I think your kids are going to resent you for staying with him and making them live with him too.  You may think you are doing this for the kids but if one of your kids is already begging grandma for help then they know things are bad.  You might find that they go to college and don't want to come home and want nothing to do with either of you.  You need to sit down with a budget--your income only and your expenses and see how much money you actually need.  See if there are expenses you could cut or if you could get a better job.  Also do you have equity in the house?  I was in the situation where one of the reasons why I didn't divorce my 2nd DH right away was that he basically bullied me into letting him buy a 1/2 interest in my house from my 1st DH.  So first it was I have to stay until youngest kid goes to middle school because the elementary school is in walking distance from  my house (I work full time so was thinking how is my son going to get to school), then it was well maybe when DD goes to college since my ex didn't get along that well with her, things will be better, you know there is always some excuse for why you can't do it.  Finally I just reached the point where my son was about 12 and I told my kids that if we got divorced, I might have to sell the house right away and both of them said they didn't care--they would rather get rid of their stepfather and have a happy home environment and if we had to move, it didn't matter.  The funny thing was that when I discussed the divorce, after the first day when my ex was mad at me, he told me that he knew he had made our lives miserable and he wouldn't ask for his 1/2 of the house until my son graduated from high school, which was 6 yrs later.  Now I'm up to that year so I will have to sell my house (unless I get a better job & can refinance) and yes, rental is higher than what I pay on my mortgage, but I have equity in the house, so I will have a good amount of money in the bank--plus I won't have to pay water/sewer, my utilities will be less and I won't have to pay for home repairs--so you really have to look at the whole picture.  My house isn't that great and I'm not really sentimentally attached to it but if I could afford it, I'd wait until my son was on his own to sell.  So you might have a really nice house, but everybody in the house is miserable--so what good is the house?  I would still recommend counseling for yourself to get help with the whole picture here.

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

There is a great deal to this that is not either person's fault.  But both have expectations that never could be met.  You too seem to show depression.  Swing shift is really bad for the body and causes many medical & emotional problems.  While you can't change him you can change you.  Finding therapy and a physical and emotional check up would be advisiable.



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

I did the same thing you're doing.......and one day I couldn't take it anymore.  Mine was an alcoholic, a serial cheater, and had a lot of emotional problems, which, just like your husband, he refused to discuss, let alone get help for it.  I was waiting for the youngest not to need a baby sitter........and then one Friday night  he pulled one of his regular stunts......try to start a fight so he could leave.  I wouldn't even bother to fight with him, which made him madder!  He left, and never came back till Sunday.  This wasn't anything new, and usually when he came back, he had an attitude of "There, how do you like THAT?".  I had been sufficiently punished I guess.  Well, this time, I fooled him.......I had all his clothes in garbage bags at the front door......I told him to take them and leave, and see if the g/f would take him in.  Surprisingly he did.  Like you, we had no savings, and he was in construction, making tons of money, and blowing most of it  on booze & broads.  In construction, there are lots of layoffs, and he'd been off for a few weeks, and an unemployment check had come.  He saw it, and took it........I said I need that to buy groceries to feed your kids.....and he laughed, and said with you running the show, they'll starve!  That was the best thing he could have said to me.  I hadn't worked anywhere in almost 20 years, I had been in accounting......and in that time offices had changed.  I had used a calculator, now there were 10 key adding machines.....electric typwriters.....it was a different world.  I got a job the following day, at an answering service (that's obsolete now) and got my confidence back.....moved on to better and better jobs, and NEVER looked back.  The night before we went to court, he came and BEGGED me not to divorce him.....it was so nice having the shoe on the other foot!!!!  He remarried even before our divorce was final, and she divorced him too.  I never got child support (my punishment) because in those days it wasn't taken out of the paycheck, it was the "honor system"........but he passed away 5 years after I retired, and I've been getting even ever since.......I now collect the amount that he did........and I'm sitting pretty, with money to spare.......

One thing, you're seeing signs of his behavior in your son.....that's right.  Children learn how to be an adult from the same sex parent.......he's learning how to be a rotten husband right now.  And if you have daughters, they will be attracted to a man just like dear old dad, and they will allow him to verbally, mentally and emotionally abuse him.......cause that's what Mom did!  The sooner you can get out of there, the better.

PS:  We had 15 years to go on a 30 year mortgage when I divorced, The lawyer said he'd make that house payments.  I told the lawyer I wanted the house in my name, and I would make the payments. Because I knew he wouldn't make the payments, again to punish me......and we'd be homeless.  The lawyer got the house for me......I finished paying it off.....and it's ALL mine now.

Look for a pro bono lawyer......call your local Bar Association...........they can help you get someone cheap or free.......many lawyers will do that.   Good Luck to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008

So OP sounds like you were just venting so a few suggestions would be to seek out therapy and counseling for yourself so that you can vent to your therapist each week about your husband....

So if you want to vent on a message board and not take advice then it would be wise to say you are venting so that no one offers any advice because now it doesnt seem you want any which is fine but be specific in what you are looking for .. Its just a mere message board filled with strangers who might have experienced the same thing and have no idea how to respond...

Stay with your husband and just accept him for who he is and be done with it and hope for the best...

Remember there are choices in life and we all are responsible for our actions and our consequences... I just pray for your children because they will become what they live and their environment.. Dr.Phil has many books on this topic... So there will be more dysfunctional children in the world and the cycle will continue with them.. Its so sad that people pick their houses and material things and comfort over their children..

I dont mean any disrespect but it sounds like you both have problems so its not right to point the finger at your husband .. Remember it takes two.....

Good Luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2013
Honestly, we cannot afford to divorce. We live paycheck to paycheck as it is due to a decrease in his salary. We couldn't afford to pay lawyers, not to mention live 2 separate lives. I would be forced to give up the house I worked so hard to have because I could not afford the taxes and insurance on it. The mortgage payment is actually lower than rent would be...the taxes and insurance are the same as our principal and interest payments. I am hoping to hold it together until the kids are done school in a few years. I am not sure how to get him to understand he has severe problems? My daughter has tried talking to mother in law in hopes that she could talk to him, but she down plays everything that happens in our house and makes excuses for him. Deep down he is a good guy.When he isn't in one of his moods, he is fun to be around. We laugh a lot. We have history that goes back 30 yrs. I am not one to give up on him because I know this isn't the real him! I am very educated in mental health and know he is suffering from depression. I also know enough to know that I can't force him to get help...well I could but a 3 party detention is not easy. So, I sit here trapped!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

After reading this whole saga I have come to the conclusion that you really need to start therapy because you need to find out why you would be willing to put up with this kind of situation for many years.  From what you said, your DH is lazy, verbally abusive, cheats on you, watches porn, is a bad father and doesn't seem to bring anything to your marriage.  he thinks he is perfect so won't get help--everything is your fault, nothing is wrong with him, so why should he change?  He actually believes that he should do nothing to help around the house even though you also work--it's so obvious that your life would be better if he wasn't around--I mean, you do all the work anyway, you said that he  wastes a lot of money on junk so if you separated or divorced, you could get a child support order, have it withdrawn from his pay, and then he could waste his own money & go without.  No one would have to put up with his yelling, you wouldn't be embarrassed by his porn addiction, etc.  I'm sure at one time there were good things about him otherwise you wouldn't have married him, but exactly what is it that you love about him now?  At some point, you need to decide that you are not going to be treated like a slave any more and you deserve a nice life--and just think of the trauma that you are helping to cause to your kids because you won't separate from him.  My 2nd exH has bipolar disorder yet things generally weren't as bad as w/ your DH--he didn't cheat and he worked hard, helped around the house and we did have some fun times together--but I left after 5 yrs of marriage because the stress was just too much for me & my kids.  I have never regretted it once.