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Marriage/Is it over?


I live with a husband that is very controlling and today we had another fight over something as stupid as me not following his directions over where to place a spoon on the counter. In these past days, he also keeps on complaining about me leaving the kitchen drawer slightly open. In the past, he has prohibited me from eating potato chips on the couch or walking with my shoes in the bedroom--he thinks I should take them off when I come home from outside. He is very critical of many things I do.  I feel like he is getting away from my heart, I feel like my self esteem is melting and when I talk to him I notice I swallow often as if he makes me nervous, sometimes I even fumble when I talk. When it comes to intimacy, I sometimes feel the need to watch a romantic movie made from an actor I feel attracted to in order to be in the mood and romantically charged. Are these signs that it's pretty much over? We have been married 16 years, and he has always been this way, but now I am just getting tired. I am 38 and so tired of all this. When I travel without him, I feel so free and refreshed. Today, he even told me to leave. He often says this, and when we make peace he says he didn't mean it, but I am tired, emotionally exhausted. I will be living in 10 days to visit my parents and I think this is a good time to leave for good since  I will emotional support. When I am here in the home, I have no friends, no place to go so I am forced to make peace because I feel so weak and vulnerable. I need help.

Is it over?

A better question might be “Am I done?”.

If you feel you are tired of things the way they are, I suggest trying to change them before you go through a divorce.  Perhaps you've already tried.  The two of you could benefit from Marital therapy.  In addition, in Individual therapy, he could learn about why he is controlling (as you describe him) and you could learn about why you have had a need to be controlled.

You can't lose If you work on yourself.  The more you know about yourself, the more you could either change your pattern and/or change your life.  If he won't go or let you go to Therapy, then you have your answer.  There will be no change, rather things will probably get worse, so do you want to stay or go at that point.

If there are children involved it behooves you to try to fix things before the marriage and/or family breaks up.

I'm not sure if you should just leave him when you go to see your parents.  Not just because it doesn't give you a chance to see if things could work out with professional help, but also because you may be exchanging one form of being controlled and/or dependency for another.   But if you feel that this is the time, having support is important.  

I'm sorry if this is not what you want to hear, but no decent Therapist is going to say, “OK, he's controlling, you should just leave and this is a good time since you will be with your parents.”  If you don't explore why you are in this type of relationship, you'll just repeat the pattern.

You are still young enough to start a new life, but I would first try to repair yourself before and life changing decision.

Good luck to you.  


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Dr. John Silver


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