Wife wants to es­cape but is afraid to be on her own

Austin American-Statesman - - RELISH AUSTIN - Jeanne Phillips Dear Abby

Dear Abby: I’ve been mar­ried to my sec­ond hus­band for 14 years. He’s a great provider, but men­tally and emo­tion­ally abu­sive.

I want to leave him, but I’m scared to live on my own. We both work, but he makes a lot of money — which I do not — so I guess you can say, fi­nan­cially I’m com­fort­able. But I’m mis­er­able. I’m so un­happy I have tried to take my life.

He wanted us to be swingers and I fi­nally gave in, and now it’s all I hear about. I don’t want to do it, but he doesn’t care what I want. His kids are mean and dis­re­spect­ful. We have no kids to­gether (which I want but can’t have, and he won’t adopt).

I feel like I’m wast­ing my life. I’m 43. I had to have emer­gency surgery and al­most didn’t make it, and he re­sented me for it. Why can’t I leave him? Why am I so scared? I have no other fam­ily. — Wast­ing Away in the South

Dear Wast­ing Away: You said it your­self: You are scared to live on your own. Some peo­ple are afraid of the un­known, and you ap­pear to be one of them. Be­cause your hus­band has been co­erc­ing you into hav­ing sex with other men, I rec­om­mend you con­tact a sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tion such as RAINN (www.rainn.org); its toll-free phone num­ber is 800-656-HOPE (4673). Some­one there can guide you in mak­ing an es­cape plan.

I also urge you to talk about this with an at­tor­ney, be­cause you should not be pen­ni­less if you leave. What your hus­band has been do­ing is a form of spousal abuse, and be­tween you and me, it shouldn’t take more than five sec­onds of self-eval­u­a­tion to con­clude that you would be bet­ter off with­out him.

Dear Abby: My hus­band and I re­cently had a baby girl, our first. We both work full time, but my hus­band is gone nights and week­ends and I’m the pri­mary par­ent at home with our daugh­ter.

Some­thing has been both­er­ing me since my daugh­ter came along. My in-laws have never once told me I’m do­ing a good job as a mother. I’m cri­tiqued ev­ery time they come over, whether it be that her hands are too cold, her room is too warm or her nails are too “sharp.”

They com­pli­ment my hus­band re­peat­edly, and he’s the first to give all the credit to me, but I feel like they don’t think I’m do­ing a good job and it makes me feel bad. Am I be­ing too sen­si­tive? — Crit­i­cized All the Time

Dear Crit­i­cized: It is pos­si­ble in mak­ing th­ese com­ments, your in-laws are sim­ply try­ing to be help­ful. In­stead of re­gard­ing them as crit­i­cism, take them un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

How­ever, if your hurt feel­ings per­sist, you — or your hus­band — should point out to his par­ents that in try­ing to be help­ful, they have for­got­ten to be sup­port­ive, and men­tion some of the things you are do­ing right.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and get­ting along with peers and par­ents is in “What Ev­ery Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus check or money or­der for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.)

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