Dear Annie: Five years ago, I left my abusive husband because I couldn’t take it any longer. He is a narcissist and manipulator to me and his children. My children have suffered at the hands of their father. We have been legally married for 31 years but separated for five.
I took him back last summer because he promised he was a different man and had learned his lesson. Well, that was never the case. He was hiding his phone from me and lying about his contacts. He accused me of being in a jealous rage.
Well, I got a hold of his phone, and lo and behold, there it was, exactly what I knew in my gut: He was sexting a co-worker. What I read and saw has left me speechless. I have tried to talk to him, but he always twists it back onto me. I told him I was leaving, and he informed me that if I do leave, he will take all my money. I’m at a crossroads here about my future. — Repeating Nightmare
Dear Repeating Nightmare: This guy’s a bum. Actions speak louder than words, and your husband is clearly the same lying, manipulating narcissist that you left five years ago. You and your children deserve better, and the first thing you should do is call the domestic violence hotline at 800-799-7233.
At this point, talking to him will do no good. You have already tried that route, and he chose to gaslight you instead of engage in a productive conversation. Your best option is to consult a divorce attorney, take your money and move on.
Dear Annie: I have been married for almost 18 years. We got married because I was pregnant with my 17-year-old daughter. I thought we loved each other and would always be happy, but three years into our marriage, he cheated with someone he had been lusting after for years before I met him.
I tried to forgive him, but he preferred being around young women and partying with them after I got home from work. He doesn’t work and would stay home with the kids. I supported his habits until I couldn’t afford to anymore because of our bills. We moved to a new house and had another child.
I hoped this could save our marriage, but it made it worse because I had a girl. He’s partying more than before. I got a new job at a hospital and work anywhere from eight to 16 hours a day. Now, my husband has started accusing me of cheating. Is this REALLY a marriage worth saving? — Troubled Marriage
Dear Troubled: Your husband sounds like another teenager under your roof — staying out, partying, being rebellious. Aside from staying with the kids while you’re at work, he’s not contributing to the family in any meaningful way, and he’s digging himself a bigger and bigger hole in your marriage. Considering his past behavior, to accuse you of cheating sounds to me like he could be deflecting more of his own unfaithfulness.
A marriage counselor can help you two truly determine if there’s still enough between you worth salvaging, but his breach of trust and lack of action to better the situation are hard to move past. If things continue as is, your best bet, for you and your kids, is to cut your losses and move on without him.
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“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit Creators Publishing for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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