I just want to confirm that I am in a controlling relationship.
I have been married to my husband for 14 years. Dated him for 6 years before getting married, so we’ve been together for 20 years. We met in high school and he had always been a jealous guy. He was jealous of some of my male friends, not all of them. He would choose which ones he didn’t think I should be friends with anymore since I was with him now, especially my ex-boyfriend. He would expect me to ignore or be mean to my ex-boyfriend if we saw him in public somewhere to prove my loyalty to him. If I would go out with friends, he would ask me all kinds of questions like did I meet or dance with any guys.
I accepted all this because I thought we were young and he was just immature and would change as he grew up. So, we got married, had kids and everything was fine because I was home all the time with kids and working. Didn’t have time for anything else.
As the kids got older, I started having more freedom to be able to go out with friends again. It seemed like his jealousy from high school started again. He would call my cell phone at least 20 times while I was out. Or, call my girlfriend’s husband’s to really find out if I was out with the girls.
He did this all in subtle ways. Let me explain: when he called my cell phone several times, he would make excuses for calling, so it wouldn’t seem he was checking on me. Like he would say he couldn’t find something or tell me a friend called and he was giving me a message or wanted to know if I was safe and he was worried. When he called my friend’s husbands he would talk about other things with them and then gradually bring up something like “so, the girls are at so and so tonight, huh”? This way he would find out if I was really with them. He only called my friend’s husbands when I was out. Otherwise, he wasn’t friends with any of them. He would call me this much even when I was at the grocery store. I felt like I was being stalked. I felt creepy like I was being watched and he said he was just being a worried husband and I should be glad that he cares. If I came home late from work, he would call my whole family to find out where I was and make my family seem like I was irresponsible for not checking in with him. I only went to buy milk on the way home. He even had my 4 year daughter catching on to his behavior. She would wait by the door for me to come home from work and check the digital clock if it was after 5:00 and start crying if I was home past 5. He is very subtle in his ways. What I mean by this is he’s not loud or demanding toward me. It’s the things he would say, like “I’m a caring husband”, or maybe you’re clinically depressed and should see a doctor”, or “this is just the way I am, I worry too much”.
There’s a lot more but this is just some of the examples. We have money issues too which I think is part of his controlling nature. When I told him we need counselling, he would tell me to go alone and that I am the one with the problem because I can’t accept him the way he is. He thought my unhappiness was brought on by something medically wrong with me and even made my mother believe it. They both wanted me to go to a doctor to find out why I was feeling the way I am. She thought I was depressed. When I tell him I want to separate, rather than trying to make things work, he would threaten me and say he would keep the kids and that I shouldn’t try to find someone else because no one will accept me with all my kids.
Well, that was 4 years ago. We are divorced now and I am remarried. I never felt so much relief in my life after leaving him. Even though he never hit me or called me names, it’s the jealousy that made me feel creepy towards him. However, I am still feeling so guilty about the fact that my marriage failed and I let my kids down and my oldest (the one that would wait by the door when she was 4) thinks I left because I cheated on him. His whole family believes that even though I met my new husband after all this. I need to find a way to get over my guilt for getting a divorce. He makes me feel sorry for him for leaving. Is my guilt the result of staying in a controlling relationship for too long? I started to believe what I’ve been told all these years?
Thanks in advance for any encouragement you can give,
Yes, he was controlling you. His subtle ways became more obvious over time to you.
His jealousy and insecurity that you were too good for him led him to a level of jealousy that has it’s only output as control of the person you are with.
Control of where you are, who you are with, who you are allowed to speak with and even be friends with. Control of money, spending and even gift buying.
I am happy that you had the courage to endure and face the reality of your situation and end the abuse you suffered from your teen years until now. You have no reason to feel guilty about the divorce or how he tricked your family into believing the worse of you. That was all part of his control. His abuse. His uncontrolled jealousy.
You didn’t let anyone down, you did the best you could under the most difficult of situations.
I hope that your letter will bring encouragement to many other women out there in similar situations of abuse.
Thanks for writing me!