After we got our first house we were thrilled. Around that time, I became pregnant with our third child and I was excited. My husband got a decent paying job, although a lot of our expenses had increased. In the state we live in, wages aren’t that great. So nationally we would be considered lower middle class. But it was still better than we had been doing. We were off of any assistance of any kind. But with four kids, we have still had a tight budget. My husband seemed to think that because he was making more money that we should be rolling in money, and we have had this tension financially that has just built up over the years. I have tried to go over the budget with him, but he won’t even look at it. Then he complains that he doesn’t understand why we are struggling. I have cut everywhere that I can. We don’t have cable TV, we went down to one vehicle. I check the ads for groceries and try to get things on sale. I don’t buy name brand stuff. I haven’t even had a haircut in over a year, and half of my clothes are from high school. Most of my updated wardrobe is from gifts or clothes that people were giving away free. I can count on one hand the number of dresses and pairs of shoes that I have gotten myself in the last 10 years. All of the decorations around our house are gifts that I have received at Christmas time. So, I think that I am pretty responsible financially. I’m usually able to maintain our budget, but it doesn’t include enough for clothing, car maintenance, unexpected events, Holidays, or Birthdays. Before we got our house, I’ll admit that I did splurge a little on my childrens birthdays and Christmas. I wouldn’t spend any money on toys or clothes throughout the year, but would splurge a little on their Birthday and Christmas. Although I’ve cut back and found a lot of ways to save over the last couple years (always looking to try to cut expenses).
I’ve also reduced going out and doing anything for fun. I’ve become distant from the few friends that I’ve had. My husband complains about anybody and everybody, including family. It was a difficult adjustment. My grandparents and I were pretty close, and I tried to visit them at least weekly. I’ve cut that down to about once a month.
I got into reviewing products on Amazon in exchange for a free product. I enjoyed reviewing items. I was able to give things to friends and family that they wanted, and I saved up the childrens items for Christmas. I figured it would put my husband in a better mood knowing that we didn’t blow our budget on it, but I could still give them a special day. I got into mystery shopping as well, and have been able to take my kids out to some really fun entertainment places that would normally cost us over $100 for free. That was actually how I was able to pull of my eldest daughters recent birthday party.
Yet he seems to be getting more frustrated with finances. He told me that he had hoped that I would have just given up and let him take over things, but I haven’t. For him, he would prioritize the mortgage over anything else and if we didn’t have enough for groceries, we would just starve. I haven’t had a problem having him more included in the budget, but he refuses to tackle it as a team. It’s either I control it or he does. And since I refused to completely give up, he has set up another account and is giving me a set amount with each check.
When we discuss our finances, lately he’s been talking more and more about his parents. My husband seems to have a problem with women. He thinks all of them are crazy and irresponsible. He claims that his mom is crazy, and has told me that she spent money recklessly growing up and put them in some bad positions until his dad took over everything and took over the budget. It feels like he sees me as his mom, and is following in his fathers footsteps. His mom and dad recently got into a fight that nearly ended in divorce and his mom talked to me about it. She told me how she has been put down her entire marriage. I started to notice more how my husbands father controlled so much. It really made me start to question if his father was mentally abusive and controlling, and if my husband is following in his footsteps.
It has been gradual, but lately it has felt like my husband doesn’t respect my feelings or opinions and wants me to do everything his way. Part of it has been financial, but he also has been reluctant for me to go back to work, even though I would carefully consider the costs of going back to work with what I’d be making. Any time I visit family or friends I get a lecture about how I’m wasting precious money on gas and that I shouldn’t go anywhere unless absolutely necessary. I haven’t seen family or friends in over a month and today I went to see my friend and got a 20 minute lecture. It was embarrassing as it was right in front of my friend. He even lectures me about playing any games on my cell phone.
A couple of months ago we got into a fight and I decided I was done. I wasn’t going to say anything as I felt dependent and that we would just have a huge argument with him pointing out everything I did wrong in his opinion and make me feel like everything was my fault, so I just chose to not say anything. I was going to go back to work, get on my feet and leave. Mentally I checked out of the relationship. I got scared of being on my own with three kids and started talking to other guys. I wasn’t trying to “hook up with them” or anything like that. I have just been with my husband for so long that I wanted to know what else was out there and that I still had a chance with anybody else. There was one guy that I just had amazing chemistry with. My husband was able to tell that I was up to something so he went through my phone and emails and found out. I was actually surprised by him having an emotional reaction. He admitted that he had a part in where we were and suggested that we both work on things and try to salvage the marriage. I know what I did was wrong, and I apologized for it and he said he was willing to give us a fresh start, but lately it seems like he is trying to control everything I do and tries to joke about me having another boyfriend if I talk to anybody or go anywhere. I wrote the guys I was talking to and told them that I was working things out with him so I was ending any communication and showed him. I did everything I could to try to make it right. But it doesn’t feel like he’s forgiven me or moved on. It feels like he is trying to control everything about me, and it’s scaring me. I used to be this strong, independent woman, and now I literally feel trapped and like a teenager again, except for I don’t want to have sex.
And that’s another major issue in our marriage. Early in our marriage, I started having pain with intercourse, and it’s still something that I’ve struggled with even to this day. I dreaded trying to have sex because I knew it would hurt. He took it very personal like I wasn’t attracted to him at all. Sex always ended up being trying to please him instead of occurring naturally. Things improved a little bit with therapy, and I was willing to try new things with him. But then he seemed to take it to a whole new level. I had been very clear about my boundaries as far as being monogamist. But he really pushed for bringing other people into the relationship. Not just once, but several times. Even after I’ve made myself clear he’s tried to bring it up in less obvious ways. One thing we agreed on was that we needed more friends. He suggested posting an ad online to try to meet people, but then started going on about how we should post in the sexual relationship ads on craigslist, which I felt would send a message that we were looking for more than friendship. He wants me to be super affectionate and grabby, even in front of the kids which bothers me. While I do think that some signs of affection are appropriate, I think that a lot of them belongs behind closed doors. But he takes it as me not being attracted to him or sexual enough when I won’t constantly grab his penis throughout the day.
And to top off those issues, we also have a lot of disagreements on how to raise our kids. He has been great with our kids as babies, but once they become toddlers he has started to grow more distant and say things that I worry may have a long term impact on their developing sense of who they are. Like when I was potty training my oldest daughter, when she would have an accident he would make fun of her and ask his son to join in. He tried to humiliate her instead of understand what was going on. My daughter has long beautiful hair, but lately she’s wanted to get it cut short. I finally agreed even though I love her hair, as she is getting older and I want her to feel like she has some control over her life. She got impatient and cut her own hair. Although I told her her that I would need to get her into a stylist to get it fixed, my husband proceeded to tell her the next morning that she looked like an idiot and everybody would make fun of her. If he yells at her for something and she tries to defend herself my husband will yell that she does not have the right to talk or to an opinion. Anytime he does discipline her if she cries, he will laugh about it and talk about how he likes the sound of laughter. He seems to get annoyed anytime the kids are laughing and having fun. I find that he amplifies how I feel. Any time I show any sign of frustration or try to discipline them, he joins in but goes a lot worse. It may be something as simple as me telling them to settle down, and then he’ll just go off on them. Then times where I’m affectionate he relaxes a bit. It makes me feel responsible for his behavior, as he tends to respond to mine. If I even lose it for a second, he will lose it tenfold. But I’m not perfect. I have my moments where I’m not so proud of myself. I get grumpy. I get sick. I find myself going back to how I felt as a kid. I’m torn on leaving. I want to do what’s best for my kids and I worry that as they get older and become teenagers that it’s going to get worse. I worry that if I leave and have to share custody that he will be cruel to them when he has them, but that I won’t be able to do anything about it as it’s not physical or sexual.
And that’s how I’m at where I’m at today. I feel smothered. Like every move is being watched, and he is trying to take all control but make it seem like he’s trying to act out of our families best interests. Any time I express my feelings it gets turned around on me and somehow I end up being the bad guy and responsible for everything. I am too serious and need to learn how to take a joke.
As I drove home today after seeing my friend, it took every ounce in me not to break down crying on the way home. I don’t even know who I am anymore. He’s questioned all of my morals and has been asking me to do things I don’t feel comfortable with for years now. And now it feels like he is trying to control everything, and I don’t want to be this scared vulnerable, dependent woman. I’ve been able to talk to my friend a little bit about my issues, and she lent a good ear to vent today. It felt good to talk about things. And that’s why I have started this journal, and made it so other people can see it.
I’ve decided I’m going to go back to work and go from there. It’s a step towards becoming less dependent, so I can be in a position where I don’t need him, but want him in my life. I don’t think that all of my unhappiness is caused by him. I’ve been through a lot, and although I love being home with my kids, I have always worked a lot. Being in the house all of the time and not socializing with other people has made me really depressed. I’ve stopped dressing up and caring about how I look. I’m going to do what I think is best for me and the kids, and if he wants to leave because of that then so be it. I think that a marriage should be a partnership. That we should do things together and that neither one of us should try to control one another. We should respect each others values and wishes, and pick our battles. So tonight I will be shaving my legs, get up early in the morning and get dressed up nice. I’m going to put in some applications and go from there. Maybe he’ll recognize the woman that I was and realize that I will not take this. He will ultimately have to make a choice. Now starts my journey towards reclaiming myself and trying to save my family.