Clueless and confused

by TR

I’m 41 and have been married to my husband for close to 18 years. We have 3 children. My husband stopped speaking to me about two months ago. He sleeps on the sofa. He answers my calls with an angry “what” or “make it quick”. He takes offense to everything I say and raises his voice at me all the time.

I’ve asked him what is wrong, what have I done to get treated like this but he won’t answer me. His only comment to me is that he hates me, our family would be better off without me, nobody likes me, etc. He disagrees with me constantly, he curses me, he’s disrespectful to me in front of my children and allows them to be disrespectful as well without stepping in.

Our marriage has never been perfect. He’s a hunter so from October through February he’s at the hunting camp every weekend. I’ve begged for him to spend time with me or go on date nights but he refuses. He absolutely hates that I enjoy eating out and refuses to give me anything that may make me happy. If I take the kids out to eat, we get yelled at. He tracks every single thing...where I am, where I go, how much money I spend, and it’s beyond what I feel is normal. He controls our air conditioner and alarm system through his phone, even the lights on our Christmas tree.

I work full time and he’s not happy but yet I’ve stayed home with the kids and he belittled me and said I was worthless and contributed nothing to our house. He has 75% of
my check going into a retirement account and the other 25% goes into our joint checking. He makes 6x what I make and threatens to cut me off of our joint checking, create separate accounts and make me pay 1/2 of the bills. People tell me to start putting money away but there’s no way. He controls everything. I don’t believe in divorce.

I devoted my life to him and our children. I have and always will be 100% faithful. I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, shop, or spend money on anything for myself. I work full time and I’m the one who had to take full responsibility of getting our kids to/from school, to the orthodontist, doctor, I do homework with them, I manage everything. I’m clueless as to why he’s unhappy or what I’ve done to deserve this. I’m not perfect but I just don’t understand this. He’s an awesome dad and his coworkers and colleagues think he’s the greatest. He goes out to eat with them everyday but refuses to bring me out to dinner even once a month. And no, there are no birthday, anniversary, or Mother’s Day gifts, and when a day comes up where I should feel special, he ruins it.

My heart is broken. I’m lonely, I’m in anguish but I don’t want a divorce. I don’t want to face a life alone and have to start over. Is there any hope? He refuses counseling. I’ve tried. He went 2x in 18 years and hated both times. He said he doesn’t need anyone to tell him how to live and he won’t change for anyone. I feel helpless and alone.

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Eugene Kayser, MA, MFT's profile on the Gottman Referral Network