My second husband and I have been married for 2-1/2 years. We dated for over 2 years via long distance (me in Tulsa and he in Chicago). When we married, I quit my job, sold my house and moved my two kids here to be with him.During the first month of our marriage (before my kids arrived they were with their dad), his ex-wife totally took advantage of me by asking me to keep their son while she went to the gym, etc. . . When I told my new husband that I didn’t want to be taken advantage of, he became very defensive and told me that he would take off from work to be with HIS son and if I didn’t like it, I could pack up and go back to Tulsa.I felt so betrayed and like a total idiot that I had given up my life that I had known to marry and move here with a man who would throw me to the wolves at the drop of hat. To top everthing else, I became pregnant two months later. Our marriage continued to worsen and his ex-wife called constantly every weekend that we had my step-son with us and would go crazy and call my husband dirty names when CJ (their son) wanted to stay with us longer.I would get so frustrated that he would allow her to walk all over him and even worse, me. Finally one day when my sixteen year old daughter picked up CJ for soccer practice, my husband ‘s ex-wife freaked out on her and called her the dirtiest, nastiest names I’ve ever heard because she had honked her horn (as instructed by my husband) and apparently awakened her baby. My daughter was so distraught and in tears.His ex wife attacked my car and made a huge scene. I stayed on the phone with my daughter helping her through the situation and until she got home so that I would know that she was okay. It was at this time his ex called me to tell me her side (which i already knew because I had been on the cell phone with my daughter through the entire incident) that I finally laid everything on the line with this woman.Since that time she has backed off tremendously (mostly out of fear I think), but I have so much resentment towards my husband because he never took care of it. It hurt me that it ever had to come to such a point and that I would be the one to finally put an end to it. Since then we have stopped her from picking up or dropping off CJ at our home and I rarely attend any functions that she will be at.All of this keeps the turmoil down, but I now don’t trust my husband to take care of me or my family when it comes to her and I cannot get over the feelings of betrayal and rejection that I felt from him in the beginning. This of course comes up in every fight we have with the same result, he gets defensive, I become more angry, he tells me that I’m psycho and need counseling and I start calling him names.We suck at this marriage and I don’t know how to fix it. Please help me to know how to finally give up on ever getting any comfort or reassurance from this man. We argue over the most stupid things and it’s always the same result. I say I’m upset about something, he gets defensive and we go through the same old thing all over again.I don’t want to divorce, we have four beautiful children between us and they deserve better. We have seen a female counselor who understood me, but he talked right over and wouldn’t listen. We then saw a male counselor that helped him tremendously with his relationship with my son, but didn’t do much for our marriage at all.Please help me, I’m desperate here.
What an awful situation you’re in. If you truly believe that there is no hope of getting any comfort and reassurance from your husband, then why are you staying together? You must have some hope on some level things can change.The kind of fighting that you describe: you say what’s bothering you, he becomes defensive, you become furious that he’s not listening and the fight is on is the most common form of fighting and the subject of my book Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First).Your fight is called the demand/withdraw negative escalation cycle and it’s the number one cause of divorce. My book will show you how to break free of this cycle, so read it right away. There are two things that jumped out at me when I read your letter.The first is that you are holding a grudge against your husband and this grudge will eat away at your marriage until there is nothing left. You need to ask yourself why you won’t let go. Is it because you never felt heard and truly understood by him ? If this is so, my book will teach you how to communicate your pain to your husband so that he will want to listen, understand, and respond properly to you.The second thing that jumps out at me is that you both are fighting junkies. No pattern continues until it meets the needs of both parties, so you need to ask yourselves what you get out of all this fighting. In your case, it feels like you are paying him back for having betrayed you early on. It also feels like you are using your anger as a form of armour that keeps him at a distance.Perhaps you are doing so because you are afraid to trust him and be hurt again. If this is so, you’d be better off owning your true feelings and dealing directly with them rather than distancing him with fighting. This solves nothing and will eventually destroy your relationship.Both you and your husband need to own the fact that you act on your angry feelings. You threaten and retaliate against each other. No marriage can survive under all this acting out.You both will need to make the commitment to describe your feelings in a constructive way, a way that benefits the other person and the relationship. If you continue to get your rocks off on each other, your relationship will end up on the rocks.