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Stuck in a terrible marriage. Do I stay or leave?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Marriage problems, Pregnancy, Sex, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (29 May 2016) 5 Answers - (Newest, 31 May 2016)
A female Canada age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I am having trouble deciding whether to leave my marriage. I wonder how it all looks from the outside.

We met as coworkers during a hard time in my life and slept together even though I made it clear I did not want that type of relationship. Eventually we developed a rocky friendship but I wouldn't quite call it dating. I tried to end it multiple times and went to far as to move to another city but he followed me and said he needed me.

Should also include that during this time he drank heavily.

I found out I was pregnant. I was resentful about the relationship but excited to be a mother. For some stupid reason I decided to give him a chance to be in our life. Despite how it sounds, he is a good person at his core. I thought he deserved it.

That was 5 years ago. We have three kids now.

At first, He screwed up over and over with drinking and angry outbursts and sometimes violence ( never toward the kids ) but he is also the most dedicated father around. He works hard every day and loves me and loves his kids. He spends every spare minute with them and gives himself to them fully.

He has gone back to school and works full time in addition to getting excellent grades and making tons of professional connections. He is well regarded by many people.

He also drinks less, though still sometimes loses control, and I see him making a lot of progress in terms of anger too. He is not the stereotype of an abusive man who will never change. He has already changed and is going further, I can see that.

But I am full of resentment over the past and I think I am sabotaging everything. I stayed through all the hard stuff but now I don't know how to love him. I don't know how to make myself want it.

I hate sex and intimacy. I am full of unresolved anger over the way things were. But I think it is better for the kids that we stay together. if I stay, they will grow up with a comfortable life and every opportunity they need to fulfill their passions. If I go, they will live in poverty and hopefully not be caught up in a custody battle. I cannot imagine them being separated from me by law.

Furthermore I can see how my husbands issues stem from his upbringing by a single mother who did her best, and was spread too thin, and I know that I can avoid the same fate for my kids if I can simply convince myself to love the marriage I am in.

Where on earth do I begin?

View related questions: co-worker, violent

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A reader, anonymous, writes (31 May 2016):

I may be jumping to conclusions here, but my impression is that he was violent towards you in the past and you can't get over it, which is totally understandable! If you truly want to stay with him, I think you should go to a therapist. She also might help you decide whether it is best to stay or leave him.

Best of luck!

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A female reader, Caring Aunty A Australia +, writes (29 May 2016):

Caring Aunty A agony auntResentment is like an obnoxious weed, it’s extremely hard rake out of your system when is been allowed to grow for many years…

And while resentment has taken root within you, I see your husband has evolved… you wrote many good points of his progress; most dedicated father, well regarded, his gone back to school, he drinks less, made a lot of progress in terms of his anger, he has already changed.

WOW he sure has shown he has the good sense to see his mega failings, as many a man are in huge denial, and has had the courage to change them? (I'm not making him a Saint.)

What intrigued me the most was your acknowledgment; “he is a good person at his core” You may not realize how much this comment means to some women living with men who are ROTTEN to the core, who show NO EVIDENCE of changing for the better!?

Sadly your mind set is stuck in the past, and won’t let go of something that needs to be purged and cleansed out of your system. I suggest some heavy duty counselling sections as it won’t be an over night fix especially since you’ve held onto this angry for so long.

If he’s shown you that he’s capable of this change, surely he’s able to take baby steps to resolve the issues that hold you back from being loving? Even a blind man can fix what he doesn’t know is broken? It needs to be spelled out.

Sure enough you can put the children through a custody battle, uproot them and take your unresolved anger with you to a new location and think that’ll be the end of cultivating resentment weeds. I beg to differ.

I believe you braved the worst part of this man, yet you’re fixated on the past when significant changes have been made here, all except within yourself. Truly that is sabotage.

Believe me, had you said; he WAS NOT a good person at his core, I would suggest otherwise.

Take Care – CAA

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (29 May 2016):

First I want to say I am sorry you are suffering in your marriage and that you want to get out of it just after 5 years. I strongly agree with what "no nonsense Aidan" said about marriage counseling, however if you decide to stay and it's all up to you, make sure you stay because you want to, not because you want to do it for your kids.

Don't sacrifice your happiness for anyone, remember you did that once,when you accepted to marry your husband. A divorce as terrible as it might be and I am not encouraging it, can be sometimes the best decision for everyone involved.

Regardless how old your kids maybe, they would know, see and sense the tension at home and would know how bumpy is your relationship with their dad. Kids are smart and sensitive and they can pickup on everything going around them. You are still young and life is too short to live unhappy in a bad marriage, you know what I mean.Whatever you decide, I wish you well.But speak to your husband, let him you appreciate all his efforts and let him know how you feel and how you want your marriage to work.Good luck.

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A male reader, Sageoldguy1465 United States +, writes (29 May 2016):

Sageoldguy1465 agony auntThis statement: "...But I think it is better for the kids that we stay together. if I stay, they will grow up with a comfortable life and every opportunity they need to fulfill their passions..." is untrue.

Kids are amazingly perceptive. You are fooling yourself if you think that "staying together for the sake of the kids" really works.

If you marriage sucks, then reconcile that to yourself... get away from lousy hubby... and, then, you and he can learn how to be separate-but-equal parents...

Try THAT "for your kids' sake"....

Good luck....

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A male reader, no nonsense Aidan United Kingdom +, writes (29 May 2016):

First, if you’re going to stay in something that makes you miserable only for the kids, that’s a bad move. They can still have both parents central to their lives even if you separate. They will pick up on it if the home is an unhappy one. If you want to stay in this marriage for you, I think it’s time to tell your husband what you’ve said in this post. Be clear with him that you want to move forward, that you acknowledge and appreciate the fact that he has changed and worked very hard on this, and that you want to let go of the past. It doesn’t sound like you got together with a particularly nice person, and you were messed up too at the time. Your life has changed since, and both of you have grown up a great deal. That means you’re re-learning about each other and your relationship. I would strongly recommend a relationships counsellor to help you both talk through the past and understand how you can move on from it. Counsellors aren’t just there for the marriages that are falling apart, though that’s often when people turn to them. They can also help couples committed to improving and strengthening their marriage. So if you want to stay in this marriage, have this discussion with him. If you don’t, you can make it work separately.

I wish you all the very best.

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