Should I leave him?

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Relationship expert Jo Lamble answers many prickly questions in her book, Answers to Everyday Questions about Relationships. This week she has answered member Jane’s question on whether it’s time to leave her domineering husband?

Q. I feel since the kids grew up I stuck in my marriage for better or worse. My husband has cheated on me a couple of times and it’s hard to forgive and forget. He is very possessive and acts as though he is my father, not my husband. I feel I need my independence. Should I leave and start my own life? I’m not happy just hanging on.

A. I admire your commitment to your marriage, but I am questioning your husband’s. If he has had multiple affairs, he has not been committed to you. Without commitment, a relationship cannot survive. Even if he is no longer cheating, it’s important that you both do everything you can to make the relationship work. Being possessive and controlling is not doing everything he can. Before you decide whether to leave your marriage or not, why not try increasing your independence. Gently tell your husband that you are unhappy with how things are and that you want things to change. Make sure you own your own problems by saying that you are feeling controlled and ask him for his help in increasing your independence. Then consider taking up some new interests and making an extra effort to catch up with your own friends. If your husband supports your new lease on life, then perhaps you can enjoy a future together. If he doesn’t, then it may be time to make that difficult decision to leave.

Jo Lamble –

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Total Comments: 6
  1. 0

    Leaving a marriage is never easy and should not be done without considerable thought and preparation. This applies even when your spouse has behaved badly.

    A first stop could be to talk to your GP – for three reasons. You should ask the GP to test you for STD’s, check your general health, and refer you for counselling. The GP should treat your concerns as confidential, but if you have the same GP as your husband, it may be time to change to a different GP’s practice.

    I would suggest that you should also seek individual counselling from a relationships counselor (perhaps from “Relationships Australia”). This can help you to clarify the situation, and perhaps offer some suggestions on communication. If you feel your husband will cooperate, you could then include him in joint sessions.

    If nothing is achieved through counselling – and you find yourself determined to leave your husband, you should quietly seek out financial advice e.g. from Centrelink, your tax accountant, or your financial advisor. Obtain legal advice (from the Family Law Court of Australia in the first instance), and (perhaps) a private lawyer.

    Property settlements can be done immediatly, but you have to be officially separated for one year to obtain a Decree Absolute (you can be separated but still living under the same roof if you have proof that you have separated your financial and personal lives).

    Talk to other women who have made similar decisions. Be aware that you will be perceived and treated differently as a single or divorcee (even family may take sides or change how they treat you).

    Do not leave this relationship and get involved in another one too soon. Allow yourself time to adjust to being by yourself (and finding the real you). Do not expect everything to become rosy overnight (being unmarried has its own social, economic, health, and psychological adjustments to make). Do not expect another person to make your life ok.

    Good luck!

  2. 0

    This is excellent advice

  3. 0

    My question to you Jane is simply this – why haven’t you already left this man who, from what you say, is a cheating, domineering bully? No man or woman has the right to treat you as if you are their possession. Get out now, get a good solicitor and doctor and move on with your life. You have to think about you and only you – he certainly doesn’t care about you at all.

  4. 0

    I am in the process of this right now. After nearly 30 years with a very controlling husband, I decided to finish it. My parents are deceased and my children grown and living quite far away, so as I have no other relatives it is quite a frightening prospect. We have had counselling. In our case my husband cannot see that he has behaved very badly, such as ringing me 60 times a day etc. and I have never had a bank account (those are the mildest things..). Financially I will be very badly off, but I cannot be with him anymore, I do not love, respect or trust him. I do hope you come to the right decision for you, and it may take some time to do so. I have felt this way for many years, and the relief of taking action has far outweighed the negative aspects. xxxxx

  5. 0

    Dear Gundoglover – I am concerned that this man is a dangerous psychopath. Multiple phone calls is a form of stalking (and control).

    I have twice been stalked by two different men during my life. It can initially be very flattering (the calls to see how/where you are) – but after some time you realise they are merely trying to keep control of you.

    Once they suspect they are losing control, they become more dangerous, and most women are injured or killed by their partners during this phase. Take a look at the American website “Love fraud”. It has a lot of information and stories about psychopaths aka sociopaths.

    I suggest you contact a womens refuge, the Domestic Violence officers at a police station, and your local hospital social worker for information and advice – before you actually make a move.

    If you do leave, do not go back under any circumstances. Take photographs of the house and contents – before and after you remove anything. Make sure you take all your documents, valuables, clothing, pets, heirlooms etc on one day. Make sure you have a team of people to help you and give protection. Rent storage if possible so noone knows where you are actually going to. Make sure you have somewhere safe to go to where he will not find you. Do not expect friends, family, neighbours, removalists etc to be able to keep your location secret. Do not tell ANYONE where you are going.

    Always allow an answering machine to record calls – and do not put your name or voice on the the message. Do not answer any call personally. Change your name by Deed Pol. Keep records of everything in a diary. When you are settled, get a camera security system. Get a restraining order. Plan carefully and be prepared.

    I hope you do not need all of these suggestions – but it is better to be over prepared. Good luck!

  6. 0

    Jane, why did you not leave him years ago? He has not respected you by having affairs. You deserve happiness and if you don’t have it in a relationship then you are better off on your own. If you can come to a financial agreement with him all the better to not have lawyers involved but unfortunately I think you will have to engage a good one. When you do leave, DO NOT go back under any circumstances because then his behaviour will be worse. By putting up with bad behaviour from someone enables them to continue like it is their right.



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