A year ago I moved out of my home and into my own apartment. I gave my spouse 1 year to make some desperately needed changes. If he showed a commitment to making these changes, made some of them and restarted counseling, I said I was willing to return. Unfortunately, this has not come to fruition and I have found it necessary to move on with my life. I did not make my decision lightly. I doubt that there are many people who want their marriage to break up but I do believe that residing in an abusive relationship is something that is also not wanted. Through out this year of separation I learned a great deal about myself. I learned that "I" do not pick well when it comes to spouses. All 4 of my spouses, dating back to 1975, have been abusive. I have experienced two who were physically abusive, one who was passive aggressive and my most recent was emotionally, spiritually and verbally abusive. With all 4, I did not see this behavior prior to marriage. All of the abusive treatment began several years into the relationship. Trying to be a good spouse, I stayed, hoping I could change them. I was convinced that if I worked a little harder, obeyed a little better and didn't take action toward the abuse that everything would get better. However, this was not the approach I should have taken. I learned that stopping the abuse immediately by separating myself from the source and demanding the spouse take corrective action to stop the abuse was the action I should have taken from the start. No one can "fix" another person. Do not enter a relationship thinking that you can fix another's flaws. "They" are the only one that can correct their issues. "They" have to want to change and "they" have to recognize that their behavior and mindset are causing issues within the relationship and "they" need to be the one to obtain help for their behavior. Please understand that I am not saying that it is always the "other" spouses issues. It could be your issues causing the rift in the relationship or it could be a combination of both of you. What you have to recognize is that the relationship needs help and one or both of you need to seek assistance to save it. No one should stay in an abusive relationship...period!! Separate yourself from it immediately and find a safe place for yourself and your children if you have them. You don't need to divorce your spouse immediately. Seek counseling and see if the abuse is ingrained in your spouses personality or if it is being caused by external pressures. The exception to this is if you and/or your children are being exposed to physical or sexual abuse. If this is happening, get out immediately!! Sexual abusers have an embedded character flaw which is impossible to cure so if you know this is taking place, escape quickly and press charges. In my case, after one year, my spouse has made no attempt to correct any of the areas that we discussed. He refuses to follow the doctor's recommendation on how to correct his lack of sexual desire. This can be corrected with a simple shot every 90 days. He refuses to quit smoking or even smoke outside. This was causing me health issues and I had gone into the marriage thinking I could convince him to quit but that was a pipe dream. The person has to "WANT" to quit. If they have no intention of quitting, you are not going to convince them to do it. In my case he knew it was causing me health issues but he stated "This is my house. I refuse to not smoke in my own home." That leads me to one of the other issues. He refused to make any provisions for me in case of his death. I had asked to have a Life Estate set up so I could live in the house if he died. I could choose to reside there until I died, remarried or decided to move out. He ademately refused to do this and when he purchased a new cabin after a wildfire burned his other one down, he ademately refused to put me on the deed even though I spent hours helping him to paint, pull out carpet, help with repairs, mow and help maintain the 20 acres it sat on. I had no rights to it what so ever. I had asked that he fix our home that was rotting into the ground. The kitchen was falling apart, he had rubber bands holding the cupboards closed, it was literally impossible to keep the kitchen floor clean and numerous times I tripped and fell over a price of flooring that was coming up between the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. I begged him to fix these things but he refused to repair anything in our home, choosing to spend his money maintaining the apartments he owned instead. I asked him to paint the outside of our home since the paint was peeling and it looked horrible. It was a beautiful home, built in the 1900's but he refused. I asked him to clean out the air ducts and to please smoke outside but he refused. The next request I had was to restart the counseling that we were in. It had begun to actually help but then the therapist had a baby and went out on her own with her spouse who was also a therapist. She then no longer accepted Medicare or VA and the counseling stopped. I told him I would go if he made the attempt to restart the counseling but he refused. The final breaking point was the ongoing verbal, emotional and spiritual abuse. I wanted to and did attend church but he would not go with me because the praise and worship music was "too loud" and he felt it was "disrespectful." He refused to look for another one that he liked better and felt they all "started too early." It was pretty obvious he was not interested in going even though he said he did. He would fly off the handle at any moment, screaming at me for no reason or just because I said something with the wrong tone or used the wrong words. He would literally come unglued if he saw me on the internet. He would get a few inches from my face, screaming that "He paid for the internet and he would unplug it if I didn't get off of it." I paid for half of everything by the way! He absolutely hated Facebook and told me I was to stay off of it in spite that it was my way to communicate with my daughter and her family who lived in Boston. So the day he screamed at me and called me a dirty, little pig was the last straw. I worked my fingers to the bone scrubbing, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming the house. I did laundry, made meals and held down a 40 hour a week job. I endured two, life saving emergency surgeries and still managed to continue to take care of our home and the cabin. I kept myself clean and neat all the time. My spouse stopped having marital relations with me two years into our marriage and we just had a 14 year anniversary on July 30th this year. So, the divorce has been filed and submitted and is on the judge's desk, awaiting his approval. I have signed a new lease here at my apartment and I have a 20 hour a week job with a medical company here. I actually retired in 2017 and also receive my VA disability pay. I will start over. However, if there is a next time, God will pick my spouse, not me. I will NOT sign a prenuptial agreement ever again. It starts a marriage off with one foot out the door. I will have a covenent marriage to someone who loves the Lord and will accept me and "Maxine" for who we are. He will understand and accept that "Maxine" is saving my life an learn to accept her. This remains to be my goal. I have stopped the cycle of abuse in my life and am convinced that I will recover to have a better and more fulfilling life. I have learned so much about myself during this last year and I will not make the same mistakes again. I have finally broken the abuse cycle. I will post another update on how my life is going at a later date. Until then, may God richly bless all of you with health and happiness. Listen to the Lord as He will lead you in the right direction. Pamela
Pamela, I truly understand you. I've have been through similar. I know we have the internet and blessed with this site but it is different in church among others of faith who will accept you as you are. Is it possible for you to join a small group at your church who meet weekly at their homes, coffee shop, church site, etc.? Stay with your faith and pray often. We serve a good good God and Lord God is faithful to those who believe.
1 John 4:17
May God protect, preserve and bless you abundantly this day and forever. Amen.
Hi Pamela. Unlike Songbird I can’t even imagine what you’ve gone through over the last several years. I’m probably just naive, unaware and certainly without any constructive advice. I admire your courage in sharing your horrific experience with us. I do agree with Xnine. You are one strong lady.
What we all must endure is crazy! From the sounds of your post, you have endured a long and lasting hell. Your spouse is suppose to be your friend first and partner to work together to make a life! It sounds as if that partnership never entered into your marriage. It just cannot work from one side only. I am sorry that you spent so many years trying to change a man that did not want to change. We must all change because we want the change, because when it is done for someone else, that change is only temporary!
I am glad you have moved on and are starting your new life. Hopefully you will find companionship that is healthy and happy! I wish the best for you!
Oh Pamela, what a champion you are! I've been reading your posts since I arrived on this site. You've had major and dangerous surgery, you've lost a child after caring for him for years, and now we find out that you've been abused and hurt. Appalling. No doubt you are doing the absolutly correct action. Get out, get safe and get happy. You're post contains a good deal of wisdom. All true. you cannot change anyone. Especially men, they really hate it. If people cannot accept each other as they are, they have no business geting married or even living together. Some of my divorced friends say 'you have to work at a relationship'. Well, no. Although widowed after only nine years of marriage, we did go through the issues of serious, life threatening illness, the birth a our daughter and craziness that a new baby brings into your life and changes the family dynamic forever. Why were there no problems? Well, there were no major rifts in our belief systems and although we came from completely different socio-economic backgrounds, we were both well educated. Neither of us had to 'work' at anything in our lives, except finding time to be alone together. An excellent education can give you more intellectual sophiscation which enables you to handle 'situations' with more sensitivity. You're classic education is of no import, you are of an age where your life and circumstances have afforded you wisdom and patience. Stay the strong and capable woman you are. Don't worry about men, they're everywhere. Take time to care for yourself, create a life for yourself that revolves around you and no one else. Be happy. Get rich and tell all those horrible men who've shatttered your life to shove off and keep sailing. Keep us posted, enjoy your new, private space and job.