When is it time to give up on a marriage? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 11-08-2012, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello.  I have been with my husband for 12 years and although I do still love him, I have concerns constantly about whether or not it is time to throw in the towel.  First, let me say that it is not all bad, and some of it is pretty darn good - he makes me laugh, he is a good father (well...he's better than mine was), and our "personal" life if pretty good.  Unfortunately, we have some fundamental differences in our beliefs and personalities that really concern me, and have for almost our entire relationship.  Here are the issues, and I'm sorry in advance for the ridiculously long novel:

  • He's a racist, and it sickens me.  He is not blatant in front of me because he knows how I feel, but he will make subtle comments that he thinks are ok.  He openly admits it and says that a person is entitled to feel how they feel and I have no right to tell him otherwise.  He says that if I lived where he lived and had to "put up with them" like he did, that I would feel the same way.  He does not say obvious things in front of our kids because he knows that I would lose it, but I am afraid that something is going to slip out one day.  Our son is 5 and when he tells us a story about a friend, my husband always asks what they "look like" trying to figure out if they are black or white.  My son has started telling stories like this:  "John, he has brown skin, was playing basketball with me."  The first time I heard that I told my husband not to ask what kids look like anymore because it's not right for our son to immediately think about that.
  • He is lazy.  He has gained about 35 pounds since we met and he doesn't seem to care.  I am not somebody that would ever intentionally say something that would hurt another person's feelings, so I don't tell him that I think his belly is gross and that he now has jowls and multiple chins.  I am in shape and look essentially the same as when we met.  I know that metabolisms change over time, but this is different, he just doesn’t care and has let himself go.  He talks about his belly, or says that he needs to lose weight and then sits on the couch with a pack of cookies.  He is not active at all and does not have any interest or desire to go out and do anything with me or the kids.  His cholesterol is literally through the roof and he's a heart-attack waiting to happen.
  • He drinks and drives.  He is not an alcoholic and only drinks a few times a month, but he always drives home when he shouldn't.  We have fought about this incessantly, and he just doesn't care or thinks that he's above it.  I am terrified that he is going to kill himself or someone else.  Before we had kids, I used to actually go and pick him up when he was done drinking.  He would call at 2am and I would get up out of a sound sleep and go get him.  At the time, we didn't have enough money for a cab and this was the only way that we could avoid fighting.  Now, he's just too cheap or selfish to call a cab.  I'm not sure if he honestly believes that he's OK when he drives like that, or if he just tells himself that to feel better about it.
  • He is selfish.  I think that if me or my children were in danger, he would fight to the death for us, but if it's a choice between something that me or the kids want to do and something that he wants to do, 8 times out of 10 he will pick himself.  He will  watch TV all night after getting home from work instead of interacting with the kids.  Now that the kids are getting older and growing out of the baby/toddler age, I do think he's getting better about it, but he still chooses himself first.  
  • He has a Peter Pan complex.  He has refused to grow up and still thinks he's 25 and single (sleeping in, going out with friends whenever he wants, doing whatever he wants whenever he wants).  He still insists on sleeping in on the weekend, and I'm not talking until 8am, but much later.  For years now we have each slept in on one of the weekend days - it started when our oldest son was a horrible sleeper and we were just wiped out and it just stuck.  I will sleep until about 8am, or possibly 8:30 if it's been a particularly rough week.  He wants to sleep as late as he possibly can and doesn't think that there is anything wrong with sleeping until 10:30 or even noon. He wants to go out with friends whenever he wants and doesn't understand why I would get upset about him being gone 2-3 times a week.  He no longer does this because he said it's not worth the fights, but he never lets me forget by saying that "he's not allowed to go out like he wants to".

 

Wow, this sounds a lot worse than I thought.  I've never shared all of this before and I guess I was holding a lot inside.  I just don't know when it's time to give up...

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#2 of 27 Old 11-08-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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The lazy thing doesn't concern me that much. I feel that if he cleaned up his act with the other stuff, his motivation would pick up as well. He sounds pretty selfish, but for the sake of the kids, I wouldn't call it quits yet. I would try counseling. Many employers have EAP programs where you can get it for free...usually 5 visits per "issue". After that, benefits can kick in, usually with a copay. To me, it seems most people, especially men like my husband, get their egos hurt and feel like they are being ganged up on when confronted about their actions and how they effect other people. They try (unsuccessfully) to turn it around on you. That is why it's good to have the counselor there to mediate. 

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#3 of 27 Old 11-08-2012, 09:50 PM
 
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Why are you with him? I do not see anything redeeming in this man

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#4 of 27 Old 11-09-2012, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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jmarroq - We have tried counseling, and it did really help for a while.  I have really been struggling with this and it feels like I'm on a roller coaster - one month it's good and then the next it's bad.  You are right about his ego getting hurt, and he felt like he was being attacked.  Honestly, I think he expected to go in there and see this male counselor and have him back him up, but most of the time you could tell that he kind of sided with me.  I'm not saying that the guy actually took sides, but you could kind of tell that he was trying to work on several issues with my husband.  I think the bottom line is that he will change to prevent fights, but he doesn't believe that he's wrong and that he has a right to feel how he feels or do what he wants in his own life.  For someone that is as intelligent and educated as my husband, that is a pretty ignorant way of thinking.

 

Alenushka - That is pretty harsh, but I have thought the same thing a time or two.  Honestly, not only do I still love him, but I'm still in love with him.  These things don't happen every day and are not a constant part of our lives, but they are underlying issues that never really go away, and when they come up, I get very unhappy.  He is smart and funny.  He still makes me laugh and we have a lot in common.  We want similar things out of life and have struggled through a lot together.  He is a good father, he has his moments, but he loves them so much and although he is a little hard on them (in a strict way), he would never hurt them intentionally in a physical, emotional or verbal way.  When it's good, we really seem like we fit together.  The problem is that when something like the items I mentioned in my original post happen, I question whether or not it can really last, and if I even want it to.  Sometimes I feel like I am just brushing things under the rug and that I shouldn't let them go or ignore them, but I doubt that he would ever work on them because I don't think he sees anything wrong with them.  That is the fundamental problem...

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#5 of 27 Old 11-12-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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Just 2 things....racists and drunk driving would make me get divorce on the spot. These things make him a really bad and dangerous father. I am sorry to be harsh but he is putting your kids in danger on many levels.  He is an alcoholic. Alcoholics drink and rive and do not take responsibility for their actions. Actually, a lot of his personality traits fit a profile of an addict.

 

Please, go to Al-non meeting or see an individual therapist. You can't change him, but you can see thing for yourself in different light and it will make leaving much easier.

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#6 of 27 Old 11-12-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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I'm not sure that someone who drinks a few times a month should be considered an alcoholic. I would assume that the drinking and driving is more an outgrow of the peter pan complex and feeling like he can do anything he wants without adult consequences. Everything else you've mentioned would make me run for the hills. Racist? Feeling entitled to watch TV instead of interacting with the kids and sleeps in that often and that long on weekends? Wow. I guess ask yourself what you're gaining by staying with him. Not what you already get from him, but how he actually enriches your life, if he does.


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#7 of 27 Old 11-13-2012, 07:18 AM
 
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He is an alcoholic. Alcoholics drink and rive and do not take responsibility for their actions. Actually, a lot of his personality traits fit a profile of an addict.

 

Please, go to Al-non meeting or see an individual therapist. You can't change him, but you can see thing for yourself in different light and it will make leaving much easier.


I agree. And binge drinking is one way that alcoholism can show up.

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#8 of 27 Old 11-14-2012, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have never thought of him as an alcoholic and I'm not sure that he is one.  He literally only drinks 2 or 3 times a month.  We don't keep alcohol at our house and he never orders one at a restaurant or when we go out.  It is only on the occasions that he goes out with his friends at night.  Also, his drinking has never put my children in actual danger and that is something that I would NEVER allow. He does not interact with them or drive them or anything like that when he's been drinking.  I should also say that the only times that he goes out are after they are in bed and he is home before they get up.  

 

LoveAndGarbage - That's what I'm wondering about...does he enrich my life?  I've been thinking about this off and on for a couple of years now.  I think he does, and when it's good, it's really good.  The tough part is trying to figure out if the good outweighs the bad, or vice versa.

 

Yes, he's Racist, and that is not OK.  I will never accept that, but if he were to never mention it in my presence or say anything in front of my children, can I deal with that?  I know that he's not the only one out there, so I keep asking myself how do other people deal with it.  I've searched the web and never find a resource or a thread where anyone seems to be having the same issues that I'm having.

 

The laziness and the Peter Pan complex...I just don't know. It feels like when it rains, it pours.  We'll go months without any issues or arguments, and then they seem to happen one after another and it's the same things over and over again.  I know that marriages are cyclical, but is there a point when you just stop trying because you don't seem to be able to solve the issues.  Why can't he see that it is just not OK to do some of these things and that when you get married and WILLINGLY have children, it's time for you to grow up.  

 

OK, and here's an even tougher question:  if I were to decide that I'd had enough, how on earth do I leave?  He would never move out, which means that I would have to.  I don't think that he has done anything that would cause a court to grant me sole custody, which means that we would have to share custody and I would lose several days a week with my children.  How do you live without your children?  They are my life and I just don't know that I can do it.  I want to be there every night and every morning and every minute in between.  I guess that's why I haven't considered leaving before...

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#9 of 27 Old 11-14-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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Also, his drinking has never put my children in actual danger and that is something that I would NEVER allow. He does not interact with them or drive them or anything like that when he's been drinking.  I should also say that the only times that he goes out are after they are in bed and he is home before they get up.  

 

While he hasn't put your children's lives in danger YET, he puts their well-being in danger every time he drinks and drives. The emotional and monetary consequences of a DD accident are major, and should not be overlooked. 

 

Also, he is putting other mother's children in danger. Not okay. Although its late when he is driving there could be children in another car returning from a vacation, visiting a relative, or a baby who can't sleep so the parents are driving her around. Or he could kill a child's parents, leaving them to grow up missing part of their foundation.
 

I would probably not leave someone who made a bad call once and drove after drinking too much (although it depends on the circumstances), I WOULD leave someone who did it more than once (and have, because it is not acceptable). 

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#10 of 27 Old 11-15-2012, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so sorry if it sounded like he was not putting anyone else in danger.  That is not what I meant at all.  I was just trying to clarify that he is not abusing my children like it came across in a previous post.  I have always believed that drunk driving is wrong and was not at all making excuses for him.  

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#11 of 27 Old 11-15-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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OK, and here's an even tougher question:  if I were to decide that I'd had enough, how on earth do I leave?  He would never move out, which means that I would have to.  I don't think that he has done anything that would cause a court to grant me sole custody, which means that we would have to share custody and I would lose several days a week with my children.  How do you live without your children?  They are my life and I just don't know that I can do it.  I want to be there every night and every morning and every minute in between.  I guess that's why I haven't considered leaving before...

I hope some mamas who have BTDT can pop in to offer perspective. I think shared custody is just something you have to get used to as much as it sucks. My mom did, my aunt did and several friends as well. And you never know how much time your former partner will ask for. It could be 50/50 or just every other weekend.

Do you have money of your "own" with which to get a new place? That would be the first step.

Best of luck to you mama hug2.gif


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#12 of 27 Old 11-18-2012, 08:53 AM
 
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I can speak to the custody. You will know when it's time to leave when you would rather be with your children part time than live full time with your husband. It's a huge life choice and one that has huge repercussions.

I am divorced. I cry sometimes stll because I am not with my kids 24/7. I was a SAHM. BUT I am happy. My kids see me happy. They no longer have to endure the pain of mine & my x's volital relationship. I have set a good model for them IMHO. But it has not been easy. And sometimes I wish I had stayed. But it would have been bad for us all. My x & I are now friends.

Think long & hard @ what you need and what would be best for your kids. Children are very resilient.
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#13 of 27 Old 11-18-2012, 09:44 AM
 
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Am I the only one who thinks it's a bad idea to send kids off for time alone with someone I wouldn't want to be with, either alone or with others? I just couldn't do that. And I chose to stay in an unhappy marriage (more like a roommate situation) rather than divorce.
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#14 of 27 Old 11-18-2012, 01:11 PM
 
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Am I the only one who thinks it's a bad idea to send kids off for time alone with someone I wouldn't want to be with, either alone or with others? I just couldn't do that. And I chose to stay in an unhappy marriage (more like a roommate situation) rather than divorce.

 

I know lots of people do that.  I did it for a long time.  BUT my X was not a bad father just a bad husband.  Just because I did not want to live and attempt to partner with him anymore did not mean his children should not be with him but it also, IMW,  it meant I did not have to stay and put up with being mistreated.  My divorce was about our bad relationship, not about his relationship with his children.

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#15 of 27 Old 11-18-2012, 04:22 PM
 
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I'm sorry. My previous sounded judgemental. I didn't mean it that way. I just was told that I should've handled things differently in my life, and I vented on you instead of the person who said it. I'm sorry.
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#16 of 27 Old 11-18-2012, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can speak to the custody. You will know when it's time to leave when you would rather be with your children part time than live full time with your husband. It's a huge life choice and one that has huge repercussions.
 

 

This is actually very helpful.  If this is how you know that it's time, then I guess I'm not there yet.  I do still want to be with him and I am certainly not to the point where I'm ready to sacrifice any time with my kids yet.  Thanks for your insight.

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#17 of 27 Old 11-18-2012, 11:35 PM
 
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I say life is short. Don't waste years of your life with a d-bag.
 

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#18 of 27 Old 11-19-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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maybe you could post a question in the single parenting forum here on MDC- something like- how do I get out of a bad marriage when there are kids involved? I am sure you can get lots of been there done that advice! Good luck! strive for what you want in life and don't settle!! I know its hard and I don't have answers just encouragement

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#19 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 06:45 AM
 
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OP, your situation sounds very familiar to me. My husband has issues with rage (never physical, just in general), being selfish/unmotivated, and being a bit racist and it drives me crazy at times, but when we're good we're good and we love each other. I'm not sure what will happen in the future but for not I'm sticking it out and trying to work on our relationship and get him to at least do self counseling. If it wasn't for the kids, I don't think we would still be together but for now it's better for us to be together. I am so sorry you are so unhappy. I don't know if I could put up with the drinking and driving. My father did this all the time and as a child knowing my father was drunk driving was terrifying. Thankfully he has never hurt anyone and I Think he has stopped.... Are you on talking terms with his friends and could see if any of them don't drink and could be a DD? I would probably lay it out and tell him that he could kill someone and if he cares about you at all he would stop and find a different way to get home. Is there a bar in walking distance? I really don't think my marriage would last through that but you do have to weigh how much it would it would hurt to have him have the kids without you. The racism, well, I've just been calling him on it when he does it in front of the kids and talking to the kids about equality when I can but mine are still little. I don't think there is any way to change that but you certainly don't need to hear about it. What worked for us this last fight was telling my husband how he made me feel and that I was considering leaving, that I love him and will work with him however I can but it if wasn't willing to work with me then let me know. We have a small savings account but split I would have enough to travel to a friends. I think my relationship is salvageable but knowing I have a place for me and the kids to go really helps calm my anxiety down. I would try marriage counseling again and see if he would go to a counselor on his own. For the drunk driving, if he does it again have you considered reporting him? It would be hard and could cost a fine or whatnot but talking to the police might wake him up about the dangers. Good luck and I hope things get better for you. 


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#20 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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Have money in your private account. He cab spend or take out what's in the joint account. And, if possible, have money for you with a friend. That way, if you have to leave suddenly, you wilk have money. Drinking and rage can mean a sudden, hasty departure.
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#21 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 10:36 AM
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Is he having one drink and then driving, or is he drinking enough to put himself legally over the limit?  If he's legally over the limit, and you know when he's driving, I'd call the police and report him.  Then when he has a DUI, it will be much easier to divorce him and get custody.  (And you will have spared whomever he may have hit that night).

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#22 of 27 Old 01-06-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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I would report him for DUI. He isn't putting *your* children at risk. He is putting everyone else on the road at risk. My brother was hit by a drunk driver. I think that drunk drivers are only worthy of being spit on.

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#23 of 27 Old 01-14-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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I have never thought of him as an alcoholic and I'm not sure that he is one.  He literally only drinks 2 or 3 times a month.  We don't keep alcohol at our house and he never orders one at a restaurant or when we go out.  It is only on the occasions that he goes out with his friends at night.  Also, his drinking has never put my children in actual danger and that is something that I would NEVER allow. He does not interact with them or drive them or anything like that when he's been drinking.  I should also say that the only times that he goes out are after they are in bed and he is home before they get up.  

 

LoveAndGarbage - That's what I'm wondering about...does he enrich my life?  I've been thinking about this off and on for a couple of years now.  I think he does, and when it's good, it's really good.  The tough part is trying to figure out if the good outweighs the bad, or vice versa.

 

Yes, he's Racist, and that is not OK.  I will never accept that, but if he were to never mention it in my presence or say anything in front of my children, can I deal with that?  I know that he's not the only one out there, so I keep asking myself how do other people deal with it.  I've searched the web and never find a resource or a thread where anyone seems to be having the same issues that I'm having.

 

The laziness and the Peter Pan complex...I just don't know. It feels like when it rains, it pours.  We'll go months without any issues or arguments, and then they seem to happen one after another and it's the same things over and over again.  I know that marriages are cyclical, but is there a point when you just stop trying because you don't seem to be able to solve the issues.  Why can't he see that it is just not OK to do some of these things and that when you get married and WILLINGLY have children, it's time for you to grow up.  

 

OK, and here's an even tougher question:  if I were to decide that I'd had enough, how on earth do I leave?  He would never move out, which means that I would have to.  I don't think that he has done anything that would cause a court to grant me sole custody, which means that we would have to share custody and I would lose several days a week with my children.  How do you live without your children?  They are my life and I just don't know that I can do it.  I want to be there every night and every morning and every minute in between.  I guess that's why I haven't considered leaving before...


The things you talk about in your last paragraph are some issues that I would also deal with. I have problems in my marriage as well and like yours, mine seem to keep coming back to the same issues around and around. Like you, I also enjoy many times with my husband, and we have also been married 12 years. Please let me know what you have decided upon doing and how you came to that conclusion. Hugs...


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#24 of 27 Old 03-23-2013, 02:03 PM
 
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Hi! So, how are you doing now? I just read this thread and my heart goes out to you! My husband and I have some issues that are similar to yours, and some that are not, however, we have been in counseling/therapy for about a year and I often wonder this same question. However, everyday I continue to *choose* to stay married and try to find our way back to one another through love. We have been married about 8 years and together for 10. We have 3 young kiddos and it's been a really rough past year or two. I did want to say this to you though, marriage is hard and usually not 'fun'. One of my 'mentors' who is happily married for 25+ years told me this. She said to me; "K, most of the time marriage is just not that fun. BUT, then you get to the sweet spot, it is alllll worth it!" I'm not saying that this will just happen miraculously,  but I think by you reaching out (online, through therapy, and other support groups) you will find your way. There is simply no GREAT answer. But, I just wanted to respond to let you know that many marriages struggle with 'issues' and I believe that the more we share and talk about it the easier it is for each other to accept whatever shortcomings our own marriages may have. Hope this helps and my heart goes out to you!

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#25 of 27 Old 03-24-2013, 06:36 AM
 
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A couple of thoughts. I would make it clear that racist comments, even the "milder ones" he thinks are ok are absolutely unacceptable as is asking the kids what their friends look like since it comes from the same place. You can't change his thoughts but exposing your kids to racism even in a tangential way is not ok and he needs to keep his prejudices to himself, period. No discussion, no excuses; it simply will not be tolerated.
About the drinking and driving, he has demonstrated time and again that he is not responsible enough to take the car on these outings so he needs to ask a friend for a ride, then take a cab/public transit home or simply take cab/pt both ways. He's welcome to go but is simply not trustworthy to take the car. That way he can't complain that he's not "allowed" to go. He's welcome to go, just can't take his own life and the lives of others in his hands when he does. If he doesn't agree, tell him flat out that you don't want to see him dead and will call the police on him next time to save his life with a DUI.
The other issues are more subtle but these two would be absolute deal breakers for me and require immediate change. I'm so sorry you are going through all this. I hear your love in your posts but sometimes we have to be firm with the ones we love to prevent them from harming themselves or others. hug.gif
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#26 of 27 Old 03-24-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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whatdoido, did these issues all just crop up after you were married?  I can't believe he would suddenly become a racist and a drunk driver only after the wedding.  You chose to build a life with him knowing about those things.  Is it really fair to ask him to change after you vowed to love him through good times and bad?  The other things (laziness, immaturity) are really not such a big deal in the long term.  Sure they are annoying but if he is contributing to the family's financial situation, an otherwise good father, and you love him, then I can't imagine leaving him.    What would your life look like without him?  What would your children's lives look like, bouncing from house to house?  Would it really be easier to do it all by yourself?   

 

My father-in-law is racist and my husband has friends of many backgrounds.  I really wouldn't worry too much about your kids picking up that same attitude, especially where they are exposed to all kinds of people every day.

 

One last thing: I read somewhere that in most marriages there are some issues the couple will just never resolve.  I agree with the others that the drunk driving has to stop (really like the idea of not letting him take the car), but the other things sound pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.  Just my two cents, not trying to beat up on you.  I hope you can come to peace with whatever decision you make. 

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#27 of 27 Old 03-24-2013, 10:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2babies2kidsmom View Post

 You chose to build a life with him knowing about those things.  Is it really fair to ask him to change after you vowed to love him through good times and bad? 

 

In my opinion--yes. Making a marriage vow doesn't mean vowing to tolerate your spouse no matter what level of scuzziness they achieve. And if he were holding up his half of the vow, he would be trying to do his best by her too, and it doesn't sound like he is. Even if these issues did happen before marriage and she married him anyway, that doesn't mean that, now that she's really opening her eyes to see big problems in her marriage, she has to just ignore them if he won't change because she promised to love him no matter what. Marriage should be a two-way street. 

alpenglow and Freedom~Mama like this.

WOHM to a girl jog.gif (6-11) and a new baby boy stork-boy.gif (2-14) and adjusting to the full-time life and husband being a SAHD. 
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