Today he told me he needs me to either be nice to him, leave him alone, or for our son to stop being retarded
Okay---tell him that by leaving, and taking the kids with you, that you are "leaving him alone", exactly what he wants. He can't argue with that, can he?
In listening to all of this, I can't help but wonder if he is clinically depressed. The history of alcohol abuse, his increasingly aggravated behavior and disrespect toward you are all signs of depression. (Did he go to rehab, or AA, or did he just stop drinking? If you don't know what a "dry drunk" is, Google it. You can quit drinking, but if you don't deal with the underlying issues that made you drink in the first place, the only thing you did was stop drinking---but you're still a miserable person and nothing has changed.) You say that you married a wonderful man, and what happened to him? Perhaps he is totally stressed out with having to work so much and not being able to do anything he likes to do either. Maybe the finances are bad, and since you don't pay bills or balance the checkbook you don't know about it. You are seeing things from your side of the fence---things may be completely different on his side of the fence. I don't know how long you have been married, but there is truth to things like the "7 year itch"---not that I condone having affairs or anything else---but, it seems that after a certain amount of time both parties become unhappy and unsatisfied with their relationship and marriage, especially when kids come along. When a man is no longer a woman's priority, and suddenly children are, it can make them act very bizarre. Also, when a woman loses her identity and a mother is all she is, and she "loses" her sexuality and her feeling of being "productive" in society, it affects her too---I have seen this A LOT with SAHM. A relationship takes effort and work---that infatuation and passion you had when you first met and got married can't last without some work on both sides. And, as much as we hate it, relationships do change. Maybe he is suffering from major stressors too, and you just don't know about it. Perhaps his coping mechanisms just aren't there and he needs some help---we all need help sometimes. And, as much as I hate to say this---how are you acting in the marriage? Are you kind? Are you patient? You say that you "turn the other cheek", but that doesn't mean that you are being the person that you want him to be, and often we don't see in ourselves what other people see. It sounds like he is very unhappy too--and you need to find out WHY he is miserable. Maybe he is uncomfortable confronting you about something. Maybe he is embarrassed about something. Who knows? There are all kinds of reason that people are unhappy.
HOWEVER---the other things, like having complete control over the money, "lending" you the credit card for groceries, you having to "ask" him for something and then having him buy it for you.......this is a VERY controlling situation, and also a form of abuse. Why should you have to ask him for ANYTHING, unless it is a major purchase like a car or furniture or something? You have to "ask" him to buy you underwear or bras? Makeup? Shoes? These are the very things that a woman needs "mad money" for!! What about stuff for the kids? Do you have to "ask" him to buy clothes and shoes for the kids? I don't know how you do it---I could NEVER live like that. Good Lord---I would freak out, as a matter of fact. NO MAN is going to tell me that I can't buy a new pair of shoes or a tube of mascara!! And, I am certainly not going to ASK him if I can.
I suspect you have "marred" credit......however, if that incident of the bank overdraft happened 5 years ago, you should be able to open a checking account now. Some banks require that you open savings and checking accounts, but 5 years should be enough time. Maybe not for the "big" banks, but there are smaller, regional banks that are not as tough as the "big" banks. There are also other ways to open an account---there are VISA cards that are "secured" that you can open up online. You might bot be able to pay rent with it, but it can act like a checking account if you want to buy something. If you can find one that reports to the 3 major credit bureaus, you can begin re-building your own credit. Having him controlling the credit cards and money is not going to help you build your own credit.
If he really does love you , and wants to make it work and wants to "try", then ask him to help you start building your own credit profile. It has ALWAYS been my own belief that even if you are happily married, in a stable relationship or whatever, you should always maintain your own "independence"---have your own bank accounts, maintain a good credit profile, be able to manage your own "money", whether that be money you make from working or just your own "mad money". You need to maintain some sort of financial independence to feel good about yourself---having someone else controlling every penny you spend is not a good way to live (unless you are completely out of control with money and can't go out with any money in your pocket or else you spend it, and usually on stupid stuff, and then it might be a good idea to have someone "monitoring" the spending). I see women do this pretty often---they leave the financial stuff to their husband, thinking that it is one less stress they have to deal with. However---if you ever have to leave for whatever reason, you are suddenly in a bind with no money or credit cards or any ability to "get away". And, your husband knows you have no money and can't go anywhere. Maybe that is his way of "holding on" to you. And, I don't have any idea what your sexual life is like, and frankly it is none of my business, but think about how he is when it comes to that----and you will quickly be able to see if he is just "controlling" you and manipulating you for his benefit. If it were me, I know that I wouldn't be so willing to have sex with my partner if he was rude and disrespectful to me, mean to my kids or just generally an a**hole all the time. That doesn't make me want to be with someone, and claims of "I love you, I'll try harder, I was just in a bad mood" only go so far and can only be used so many times in the bedroom for him to get what he wants. That kind of stuff doesn't fly with me. However---you need to re-gain some of who you "are", and not be "controlled" and have your identity defined by your husband and your kids.
And, from what I have read, you have "threatened" to leave before---and his "fine, get out" response was based on the fact that he knows he controls the finances and he knows you don't have the means to "get out". Plus---a response like that I assume came during or after a fight. Discussing splitting up is usually one that should be done with a level head---or as level a head as you can have when you are talking about separating, not yelling at one another and threatening to leave and then having the other person yelling "GET OUT"..........that never results in a good situation.
Furthermore (and I am SOO sorry that this has turned out to be such a long-winded post), waiting to see what he is going to be like "today" or "tomorrow" is not the way to live your life either. You want to be able to count on what he is going to be like 20 years from now. Everybody has bad days, too. But--waiting and anticipating what his mood is going to be like is stress inducing in and of itself------I lived with something like that in a relationship. You should not have to wonder what his mood will be on any given day, if he is going to wake up pissed off, sad, happy, whatever.
If you are so miserable that you think there is no hope whatsoever, then the only thing to do is discuss a separation with him---with level heads. Discuss the how's and why's. Talk about WHY you want to leave, and let him say his part too. Maybe if you sit him down and tell him that you want to leave will induce him to talk, because he will be up against the wall, so to speak. And, don't let him say "I'll try". "I'll try" is a lame copout---what is he going to "try" to do, exactly? You need to lay down EXACTLY what you want changed and what you want help with. You need to tell him EXACTLY what behaviors of his make you want to leave him and what behaviors you ABSOLUTELY will not tolerate. You need to tell him what YOU need help with--you posted about "marital pet peeves"---so, nothing speaks faster than not having clothes to wear because the clothes did not get into the hamper. Your job is not to pick his clothes up off the floor, his job is to make sure he gets his dirty clothes into the hamper. Your job is not turning his clothes right-side-in, that is his job to make sure his clothes are put on the right way and not backwards. NOTHING speaks louder than actions. Acting like a maid is not your job either. Being a SAHM to 3 young children is a lot of work---you don't need a husband that is a child too. My policy is that I say something once, and if he doesn't listen, I tell him once more in a more forceful way. After that, if the behavior doesn't change, then MY behavior changes!! No more picking his clothes up off the floor to wash them--they stay on the floor, and when he has no more clean clothes to wear then he will put them in the hamper--and when he asks why he doesn't have clean clothes, then you say "Well, there were no dirty clothes in the hamper to wash". When he gets sick of turning his clothes from inside out to the right way, he will learn to not put them in the hamper inside out.
He needs to get to the bottom of why he is so unhappy and he needs to deal with it and cope with it in healthy manner, whether that means counseling, seeing a psychiatrist, whatever. Having 3 young children is tough--it is tough on a marriage, it is tough on the people themselves, it is it's own stress. But one thing is for sure---you are not his whipping post, and he has no right to take his misery out on you. AND YOU NEED TO BE STRAIGHT WITH HIM AND TELL HIM THIS FLAT OUT. But, you can't just tell him---your actions need to support your statements. Set up something where you can stay with a friend, and when he starts his crap, pick yourself up, pick your kids up, pack a bag with clothes and whatever the kids need (or have one already pre-packed so you don't waste time), take the car keys and go to your friend's house. Don't say anything like "I'm leaving" or anything like that. Just get up and go. When you don't come back to make him dinner, and then don't come back at night, then perhaps that will make him think about what he did to force you to leave, and your statements will now have actions to back them up.
Again. I'm sorry this is so long, but it's hard to make things quick sometimes (and I am pretty long-winded anyway.......LOL)