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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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(NOT) Putting My Life Back

(NOT) Putting My Life Back Together

January 18, 2000

I am trying to put my life together.  I am seeking professional help with both clergy and therapist. They helped me change my life and get out of depression.


I have 2 children. One developed anorexia with all of the abuse (verbal) in the house.  Both adults, they have been married and divorced.  My stuff started when kids were preschoolers: I started emotional affairs.  He found out about one and became abusive.  I was so stupid that I allowed myself to become close with another man. This too he found out about, and hit me really hard that time.  And then the questioning began. The threats, he went as far as to take a pistol to the man's house and threatened him until he admitted we had sexual intercourse. He had been my only sexual partner until then. I ended up leaving for a safe house.  

I then allowed myself to do worse. I found my needs met in another man, and this time we had * sex, which makes me sick now as I recall it.  I became the perfect justifier and rationalizer there ever was! And finally my H found out.  Why do I think you made sure he did?  Needless to say it was not good! I tried to make the marriage work. I tried a different counselor and this one really got me going. Told me the facts plain and simple: the way you dress and act DOES bring attention from other men. I really didn't need to be doing that. (H is very jealous, which goes with the abuser).  

I left him when HIS counselor advised me to and filed for divorce.  But his sweet talking, forgiving attitude brought me back.  I went so far as to renew my wedding vows with him five years ago.  Since then with the help of God and my great counselor, I have got myself turned around.  I am very much aware of my actions and how I dress and talk.  I have worked hard to reassure my H that I would NEVER cheat on him. I have repeatedly told him how sorry I was. Good.


His response.  I found out that he never has forgiven me.  He has thought of numerous ways to kill me including burning me at a stake, hanging me, shooting me, etc. He says there is no way that he could ever punish me enough for how much pain I have caused him. Then, he owes it to himself to leave you. What's stopping him?

 I know that my Savior has forgiven me, or I would not be here. I couldn't live with myself.  But now I see something new coming from my H, and it scares me.  The last 6 months his sex drive went to zilch. He would tell me that his prostrate was bothering him. Or, that at his age of 47 that you just don't get turned on by looks anymore. He said he thought he could be impotent. This scares you? The crazy, let's hurt each other relationship you are in doesn't scare you,  but his lack of sex drive does? Why are you placing such an emphasis on sex?

Well, eventually I decided to investigate his story.  My father  discovered a new telephone with a recorder on it in our vacation home and told me about it.  I thought that maybe it was a Christmas present for me. It was not! When I went to the house and did not see it, I started looking for it.  It was then I discovered that he was writing to women as a "DWM" and had several letters.  I knew better than to confront him, so I decided to do more research and ask about it in front of a neutral person (a counselor). He figured out how to get back at you.

What I found in his wallet was lots of cash Why are you snooping in his wallet? and numerous cards of "massage therapists," which really surprised me. There were dates on them verifying that he had appointments with them. When I did confront him about the phone, he said he had just got it 4-6 weeks ago (wrong I found the receipt and he had bought it in Sept!). He lied about the number of therapists he was seeing. He denied ever placing an ad. (I saw the envelope that they came in addressed to him).

Now my therapist told me not to look in his wallet. Good advice. this really confuses me as he never before had told me to stay out of his wallet, and I seldom had picked it up.  Not saying anything does not constitute permission. You should know better than to invade someone's boundaries. Now when he is in the shower, I make a point to take a look! Oh boy... and sure enough there are new women's addresses and phone numbers showing up! 

He seems to delight in having me in pain and wondering. He never once has he said that he is sorry, like the pastor suggested. He tells me, "What's the matter? You can dish it out but you can't take it?" So I struggle. After 28 years of marriage, I really don't want to start over. Yet I am afraid that he will only continue to enjoy causing me pain and misery. AM I RIGHT? I don't know. I think you are well-suited to each other. You are both experts at causing each other pain and misery Or, is there a chance that he could change? Is there a chance that both of you could change?

The pastor told me not to give up hope. But, I see his pain and wonder when he will lash out. He has taken anger control classes and not hit me for 5 years, which is a plus, but he has become really good at verbally abusing me. He is still asking questions of the past STILL.  (He used to keep me awake until 3 in the morning asking them, and I would get up and go to work, and he would sleep in and go to the house and do his little chores. Maybe a total of an hour...and take a nap and come back and repeat it.)  Of course he doesn't see the questions as abuse  - only his need to understand why I did it.. what would you suggest.. should I stay or not?

 I would end up losing over $200,000 if I leave, but what price is there for personal health and ending the abuse.  Is my story really unusual? I could sure use some help. Thanks!

Dear ...

Your story is different from most in that you are both playing  games with one another. Big games; they include and go beyond abuse. You seem very well matched. I'm sorry both of you are hurting, but I think you would rather hurt than give up your exciting roller coaster ride. 

Sorry I can't be of more help.   Dr. Irene

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