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Is my husband jealous or is this a way to control me?

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Question - (10 September 2009) 3 Answers - (Newest, 4 October 2009)
A female United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

My husband and I have gone through alot of arguing etc for about 7 or 8 years. We have been together for a little over 9 years. I have been disecting it throughout. My husband is military. I stopped working when we transferred the first time about 6 years ago. I had friends before I met him and during the first part of our marriage. During his first deployment we were sent to a new duty station. We lived off post and I had an infant and a child in elementry school. So I did not have any friends or family around for 16 months. No one to watch children etc. Since this time over 5+ years I have not established any freindships. We have gone to BBQ's of people he works with or have invited people to our home to try to establish friendships. However, what has happened is that he has been talking to these co-workers about our marital problems in which they are only hearing one side and is not their bussiness. While going out or meeting these people they have already have a prejudged notion of me and proceed to humiliate, disrespect and make constant harsh statements to me. Which my husband does nothing to defend me. So in turn I have accussed him of sabotaging me to them and refused to attend any further BBQ's etc with anyone he works with or is friends with. Which furthers my inability to meet friends. He has denied these acts but my intuition is otherwise. To boot he constantly will interupt me or someone who is speaking to me and restart a conversation not pertaining to the subject.

I am trying to figure out, is my husband jealous of me or is this a way to control me? What is this?

RTC

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 October 2009):

Hi,

I can completely understand your story because mine has been the same. I've been married for 13 years. I love my husband but I never should have married him. He was controlling when I met him.

My husband was not in the military but was a truck driver and would be gone for days at a time. When he was gone I felt it was the only time I could breath.I used to work but then my company closed and I ended up working from home a little. I have one child. My husband has done nothing to help take care of her. Early on if I had to work or go somewhere I would have to rely on family and friends to take care of her while my husband was home alone watching TV and taking naps. He claimed he didn't know how to take care of an infant.

The verbal and mental abuse were terrible. He would yell at me about every little thing. The baby dropped a pacifier on the floor one day and I didn't notice. He walked in the kitchen and stepped on it in his bare feet. He let out this yelp of pain like he'd just been shot and then screamed at me shoving the pacifier in my face, telling me how stupid and irresponsible I was and I knew nothing about taking care of children. I would cower in the corner on the floor while he hovered over me screaming.

I always had to be home when he got home, If I wasn't then he claimed that I didn't love him because he would be gone for 3-4 days and when he came home I couldn't even be there. This would happen even if I was 15 min late. I once gave up a job interview because it was running late and I would not have made it home in time for him.

My husband is older than I am by a lot. He doesn't want anything to do with my friends because they are too young for him but he wants me to hang out with all is older friends and their wives. The years of abuse and fear and isolation finally broke me down and caused me to go into a deep depression. I would get him up and on his way to work and then go back to bed, my daughter would crawl into bed with me and watch TV. I'd get up when he called and said he was on his way home. I didn't work and lived off credit cards. The finances became a huge mess, thus adding more stress because I was afraid to tell him.

Being sick was the same as your story. I take care of my daughter if she's sick while he tells me what I should be doing with her. If I'm sick I'm expected to keep going and to "suck it up". He actually gets mad at me if I'm sick. Once I was violently ill with something. I couldn't pick my head off the pillow with out severe pain shooting through my head. I couldn't eat without throwing up and had a fever. I was on the couch so I could try to keep an eye on my daughter since he wouldn't. He kept asking me all day if I was going to get up off my lazy ass. Then at dinner time he asked me what was going to be for dinner. I told him to make whatever he wanted. He said," Oh no, that's not my job, you're home all day you can make dinner" I got up and started dinner while it was cooking I sat on the floor in the kitchen and silently cried because I was so sick. He came in the kitchen and saw me crying and got furious with me told me I was being ridiculous and he wasn't going to deal with this anymore and he went out for dinner by himself. I still had to feed my daughter myself.

So here I am today. My husband is retired and home every stinking day.I still work from home and homeschool my daughter. While I have grown a backbone and stood up for myself things haven't changed that much. He doesn't yell and scream so much anymore but I think it's because he's getting old and tired. He doesn't get up until 10-11am usually. But will get mad if I don't start school at 8am. He never helps out with anything to do with school but wants to tell me how to do everything. He never helps out cleaning the house or laundry or cooking even though he does nothing all day. Now he claims that his back hurts him too much. I always have to baby him when he doesn't feel good.

His days mostly consist on getting up late morning, having coffee, sitting on the porch reading a book all day. At 6pm he comes in to watch the news and will watch news programs all evening long. I never get to watch anything I want to watch and on the rare occasion he does let me watch anything he throws the remote at me and storms off to another room yet he wants me to sit and watch all his dumb shows with him and gets mad if I won't sit there with him.

Anyway, I have put a lot of thought into this. I believe the underlying problem is that my husband is insecure. No matter how rough and tough he may appear on the outside. He came from an abusive family where his mother beat him and the father looked the other way most of the time. He has no idea how to be compassionate and loving. (he won't let me hold his hand out in public). He is so insecure that he thinks if he doesn't control me and keep me limited then I would leave him. That's why he gets very jealous if I talk to another male that he doesn't trust. He thinks I might like them better and leave him. He doesn't like me talking to other women, especially divorced women because they might put ideas in my head or I might tell them about how he acts (which he knows isn't right). Whenever I do get back from talking to a friend he always asks what I told her about him. He blames everything on me. He figures if he can convince me that I am stupid and make mistakes all the time then I will realize just how much I need him to keep me straight. The opposite is actually true. He won't go with me place that I want to go and mopes about it. The idea here is that I'm suppose to feel guilty about leaving him behind and then I won't go anywhere and stay with him. if I do go out he makes it super difficult for me. I have to make a dinner for him and leave it in the fridge, find someone to watch my daughter, etc.

I truly believe he is a little boy looking for his mothers love. I am now the surrogate mother. But I don't want to be his mother I want to be his partner.

I have decided to be as independent as possible and to let go of a few things. I have given up on trying to get him to be a better father. I do my best with my daughter and I tell her when Daddy has acted wrongly towards her and she is upset.

I have remedied a few things that I know set him off like a messy house and dinner being on time. I was never a great house keeper and he yelled at me alot about that. I figured out a routine for keeping the house clean that doesn't take alot of my time. He doesn't yell anymore about that so it's a little stress off my back. I have given up ever hoping that he will make dinner. So now I try different recipes and try to have fun with it. When he complains about a new recipe I tell him when he starts making dinners he can make whatever he wants and I'll be happy to try it in the mean time he can either eat it or take himself out for dinner everynight. I tell him that I'll be right here having dinner and if he really doesn't want to be with me for dinner then he can go out himself but that's a choice he's making to not stay home with his family for dinner.

This turns his game around on him. It no longer is me driving him out of the house by cooking some strange meal, now it's him choosing to leave his family for dinner. I put it in his mind that no I am the victim not him. He loves to play the victim. Well he won't do something that makes him look like the bad guy.

I no longer ask him for help with anything! If I can't open a jar myself I will break the thing open before I ask him for help. I do not want him thinking that I need him for anything.

I am preparing financially for my own future and my daughters. He sees this change in me and has told me that I'm really growing up and becoming independent, I'm 37 he's 62. He says that he knows I'll leave him one of these days because I don't need him anymore. I tell him he's right I don't need him but I love him and the fact that I haven't left him yet should tell him something. I go where I want to go even without him if he pouts I tell him thathe is more than welcome to come but I am going and I'm not going to be stopped by anyone.

In some ways I have to treat him as a child. It's a sad state of affairs and it's really no way to have a marriage. I do love my husband and we do have some great times together and as long as he keeps quiet I would never leave him.

He always tells me that he has treated me badly and not helped me around the house and not helped me when I was sick because he was training me to be tough and strong. Nice excuse he made for himself but maybe he's right. This relationship has taught me to be stronger and the past two years have really made me stand up for myself and start to regain my life. I lost my life when I was 19 and met him and began to live his life. Now his life is settling down and I have to chance to gain back mine a little. I have learned that a consistent firm hand with him is the only thing that helps. My husband always threatened to leave me when ever I disagreed with him. It was his way of keeping the control over me. I still worry about that because I don't think he wants to leave. I think he's the kind of guy that would do it even if he cut off his own nose to spite his face. He'd do it to prove to me who was really in control. You have to take back quiet control. Stop arguing about house cleaning and laundry and taking care of the kids. The more you tell him you need help, the less he'll help you because he thinks he's got you trapped and you'll have to stay with him and you'll be grateful for the small amount of help that he may give you when he decides to. If you stop arguing about it and just buckle down and find a way to get it done, first you'll feel better by letting it go (this does not happen overnight by the way) second he'll notice a difference in you and it will make him a little nervous at that point. First of all less arguing is good for everyone including the kids. Secondly at some point when you fell under control you can tell him if he whines that you don't "need him" but you do want him but you want a husband that you can share your life with. It's a place to start.

I have seen a lot of change in my husband although he was very damaged by his parents. I do not think he will ever understand what true love and caring is about but I do hope I can show him some. Although I still have to baby him with somethings I am more at peace. Yes, I still do all the house work and more by myself I no longer expect help and there fore am not upset when I don't get it. I figure if I ever did leave him I would have to do all this stuff by myself anyway. Yes he should be helping but he won't so I will take the good things I can get from the marriage and live the rest of it like I was living on my own anyway. Face it that he just won't help with certain things and then come up with a plan so that you can get them done easily by yourself and then just let go of the anger. You really will feel better and stronger. You'll know that you managed to get all these things done with no help all by yourself. What a strong woman you must be.

I know this was long but I wanted to vent myself and let you know you are not alone.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 September 2009):

Ryth,

I agree I need to look for ways to socialize on my own. But my time is limited because I have to work around his schedule. He works sleeps and eats. And sleeps alot. Sometimes I have made plans to attend something and I have to cancel because of his work schedule. He does not take care of the children, I do. Meaning school, doctors, laundry, meals, when their sick etc. He does not do anything around our home unless he is asked, and even then he will put things off for monthes like our garage. When he does do something on his own I no longer thank him for it. I dont think I depend on him to make friends, because honestly the majority of the people he introduces to me are young, immature, shallow and the conversations are trivial. These would not be people I would choose to hang out with. Actually there is quite alot of dishonesty and deceit. Not to mention I am old enough to be their mother and so he their father. But because I have began to venture out and get involved in areas that interest me, he wants to go with me. Saying he would have liked to go, when I have already made arrangements to go with someone elese or by myself and someone needs to watch the kids. On the three outting I have had in the last 2 months he has claimed he wants to go with me. One I had to cancel because of his schedule. I have put off going to school or signing up for a gym because he claims he would not be able to take time off to pick up kids from school if we needed to. And cant afford an extra cell phone.

I do not feel that he loves or respects me at all. If he did he would step up to the plate and confront his friend or associate. Going back to work is something that I am striving for. I desperately need my independance back and it will allow me opportunities to establish my own friendship. I absolutely agree with you on this. The problems that we have had in our marriage have transpired mainly from his laziness, lack of responsibility, and neglect of our family in which he has admitted to. But yet he doesnt do anything to change it. He kisses my butt for awhile until I forgive him until the next time. Except I dont want there to be a next time this time.

I would not usually allow someone to treat me the way I have been treated by some of the work associates. I held back for 2 reasons, one I did not want to break their friendship and I waited to see if he would take them asisde and set them straight. I had even told him after the second time, If you do not say something I will and if I say it It will be far worse. Beleive me I have backbone.

In all of my friendship then and now, none of my friends have ever insulted or humiliated my husband. And has never confronted him with problems in our marriage. Whenever he is around or we are out together, if I am having a conversation, if I am speaking to a male, he makes comments like Don't be hitting on my wife etc. They stop talking to me at that point. If with a female he interupts and changes topics, if male he keeps saying things like, hey hon, while i am in the middle of a discussion. The last time we went out, we had dinner with some higher in rank than he. During dinner one of the men started asking me questions about what he needs to do to put his wife to be and child on medical and other things. He kept interupting with things like hows your dinner and so on. Id answer and go back to the conversation. Then we went out for drinks he went down stairs to smoke and never came back up. He just left me with all these couples I didnt know. He had got into an argument with someone and claims he didnt want to go back upstairs because he didnt want this guy to think he was backing down on a potential fight. This was really stupid to me but I just left him there because it was about 25 degrees outside and I was in a formal. The next day I asked him about this and he said the reason why he didnt want to come upstairs was because I had been talking to this man at the dinner table and I wasnt paying any attention to him. So, I feel as long as he is around I wont have an opportunity to establish friendships, because If I spend too much time with someone talking he gets upset or he interupts. Because he claims I am not paying any attention to him. I was very harsh with him and told him that he was not the only one who has something to say and that I dont get the opportunity very often to speak to other people outside of my home.So on one hand he follows me around like a hurt puppy and on the other he allows people to humiliate or disrespect me. Yet he claims he loves me? And if I mention seperation. He gets all upset. He claims he is not holding me back but if we get into an argument he brings up things that I have gotten to do or get. It is as if he is talking bad about me to associates, they have an already prejudgement of me, but yet it bothers him that my attention is not attending to him.

I will go back to work and hopefully gain friends and independence but I think it will be a struggle with him to do so. He will of course allow me to go to work and establish friends but I dont think he will make it easy to do so. I actually dont want to rely on him for anything. This relationship is not a partnership. Its more like this is the way it is and if you dont like it leaveing is the other option. He is a very negative person. All of his conversations consist of military related stuff or how a part of his body hurts. Thats pretty much it.I am a social butterfly. I love people. I love learning from people. I have always been able to carry a conversation with just about anyone. But I have isolated myself because it has been the easy way. If I dont work I dont have to worry about taking time off for a sick child or being here for everyones needs rather than my own. Or juggling the house, the bills, the kids, him and having a full time job. Being sick is another issue. If I get sick, there is no sleeping in for me. For the last 8 years I still have to get up and tend to the kids. Because he wont get up and make breakfast and so on for the kids. Once they are off to school I can go to bed, If no school I just grin and bare it. This is called responsibility.I have been really ill at times. Even if he is home I am the one who takes care of the kids. While he sleeps in til 10- 11am. It used to be he would sleep in until 1p in the afternoon. And start to remodel around two and work til 5p.My sleeping in is 8a. If he is sick he gets all the time he needs to recover and he takes full advantage of it. But I no longer assist him when he is ill. Alot of times he is deployed and I am on my own anyway. I know I am building up resentment for him. And lately I can not wait for him to leave. I have made appointments for marriage conceling in the past and he has showed up for the appointments when he has chosen to. He claims he cant get out at work but I have been told that the command will allow him to go if they know about it. Whenever I have had it with the argueing I suggest we seperate and he says then lets go to counceling. But he doesnt commit to it. He doesnt follow through. I handle the house the remodel mostly of it, the bills the problems all financial aspects,the schools the doc the dentist the outside when he is gone or feels like doing it, the groceries the clothes the sick kids the cars mostly and yet he says I dont contribute. He spends and spends. I save. I am saving so he can spend. He spends and has no idea what is going out to pay bills. He just looks at the account and thinks we have all this money because he doesnt know how much and when things will be paid. I have told him but he disregards and spend then I have to call and arrange payment or pull from savings to cover. He doesnt know how to write a check on his own. He gives me full responsibilty for the bills but yet he wont allow me to pay things off. When I have asked him to pay some of the bills on his own he says why do I have to pay that when it is in your name not mine. But yet expects me to pay all of his bills that are in his name. I could go on and on. But I think I am trying to paint a picture. Bottom line is On one hand he says he loves me but doesnt show it with his actions. He takes advantage of our situation. He says he isnt trying to hold me back but yet he puts obstacles in my way. He comes and goes as he pleases where I have to check with him and his schedule. I have had this mans back through several life problems up until a few months ago. He is with me for some reason but not because he loves me. I cringe when he wants to give me a kiss or hug. Because I feel it is just not genuine.I feel he has betryed my trust, my honor, my respect.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 September 2009):

I don't think he is jealous of you, but his behavior does seem controlling, and it seems there is a lack of trust on both your parts, which is very detrimental to your marriage.

I don't think refusing to go out with him and his friends is the answer, however, I think just mingling on your own with these people and confronting them head on if they are rude or disrespectful would get to the bottom of things.

Also, why be so dependent on your husband to meet and make friends? Get involved in something outside of your circle of acquaintences by joining a church, or volunteering or taking excercise class or art class or jewelry making classes, etc. Start a women's group in your community, start an international dinner club where you meet once a month at each person's house to try a meal with an international theme, take a toastmaster's class, a book club, there are many many ways to make friends with similar interests. Find some women friends, and don't worry about meeting couples....when your husband sees you aren't so dependent on him for your happiness, perhaps he will respect you more, or straighten up. It certainly is worth a try.

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