Life too valu­able to waste in a love­less mar­riage

The Modesto Bee - - Explore - CAROLYN HAX Email Carolyn at [email protected]­post.com

Dear Carolyn: I’ve heard “life is too short” a lot lately. It makes me think I’ve wasted signi icant time, en­ergy and money in a 23-year re­la­tion­ship that has caused me so much pain.

My hus­band is dif icult and con­trol­ling. Both ten­den­cies come from his fam­ily: His mother is a con­trol­ling nar­cis­sist.

When I was younger, I thought I just needed to im­prove. It was not un­til I had chil­dren that his ten­den­cies re­ally caused me to ques­tion what I was do­ing.

We live close to his fam­ily, all of whom have — on sev­eral oc­ca­sions — given me the silent treat­ment, called me names, and gen­er­ally caused me a lot of stress. Af­ter ther­apy, I’ve been able to es­tab­lish good bound­aries with his fam­ily. And I’ve tried in many dif­fer­ent ways to talk with my hus­band to make him un­der­stand what I am go­ing through.

He now has melt­downs on a weekly ba­sis that in­clude the silent treat­ment and some­times name-call­ing. I re­spond calmly most of the time, be­cause I just have to ac­cept him for what he is, since he refuses to seek help. I have three small chil­dren and a house­hold to care for. I also am the sole provider for my house­hold. So, I work full time and have a full-time house­hold with lit­tle sup­port.

I may have the op­por­tu­nity to move for my job. I think per­haps phys­i­cal dis­tance from his fam­ily might work. Does it ever help in these sit­u­a­tions? It is the only thing I haven’t rea­son­ably tried.

— Life Is Too Short

You haven’t tried di­vorce. I’m not say­ing you should have, just that you haven’t.

Di­vorce is a valid le­gal and emo­tional rem­edy for 23 years of pain and buf­fer against 23 more.

I’m glad you found ther­apy helpfu. But al­low me to sug­gest that wasn’t a so­lu­tion unto it­self, but in­stead was Part 1 of a dif icult but over­due long-life/short­life over­haul.

Please ex­plore Part 2 in pri­vate con­sul­ta­tion with a very good lawyer, and in ther­apy again, solo. Read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. Don’t skimp on self- and child-preser­va­tion, or safety, es­pe­cially given a pos­si­ble re­lo­ca­tion. As­sume he’ll make this as tough on you as he can.

But ask your­self: If you were your child, would you want to grow up in this home?

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