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My husband and I have been married for almost two years now and we had a baby this year. He is being really mean to me and saying very hurtful things like that I am fat, he's not attracted to me, if I don't loose the weight I should find another man to be with, that I have no drive, because I stay home with our child that I am getting a free ride...... And the list goes on. Is there anyway that this man loves me? He says he doesn't want a divorce or another woman he just wants me to be the woman he wants..... Is this grounds for divorce?

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Hi Mallratdown,

in most English speaking countries you don't need "grounds for divorce" in a legal sense. You can just decide that you want a divorce. But the way he is treating you could be a reason to divorce him if it doesn't change. This isn't really as simple as "divorce or not?" From what you say his behaviour sounds abusive. No-one has the right to consistently say nasty, hurtful thing to you. You ask if he loves you. Perhaps he does in his own way, and perhaps he is frustrated by the changes that have taken place in your relationship since your baby was born  but has trouble communicating that in a constructive way. Instead he is using destructive language that destroys your sense of self and motivation rather than builds it up. he may hope that by nagging and hassling you that you will make the changes that he wants, but it is having the opposite effect. Also, he talks about wanting you you be the woman he wants. But what do you want for yourself? Having a child brings about huge changes in a relationship and good communication is needed to negotiate those changes. He may be resentful about some of those changes, and you probably are as well. And he doesn't  realise that looking after a toddler is not only a full time job and not a free ride, but also a legitimate choice. But like most choices in a relationship these things need to be negotiated.

Hi behaviour is abusive. It is not OK. Can you talk to him about this? Has this been an ongoing pattern or is it recent? If you want to continue the relationship, if you think there is hope that he can change then get couples counselling/therapy. If the patterns of behaviour are ingrained then the will be hard to change on your own. And know what your boundaries are. Set clear limits with him about the way he treats you. Of course that can be easier said than done. I spent far too  long trying to enforce boundaries with my emotionally and psychologically abusive ex husband and he never got it. Know what you will do if your boundaries are not respected, be it walking away from the conversation/attack or leaving the relationship. And set clear guidelines about what you expect of him. Almost a timeline. My ex always promised he'd change, promised he'd do therapy etc, but I never succeeded in holding him accountable so he never changed and it went on for over 20 years and severely affected my mental health and wellbeing.  Emotional and psychological abuse are forms of domestic violence and can be equally as damaging as physical abuse and much more insidious. You know if someone has hit you that is is not ok. If they yell at you or put you down sometimes it is not so clear cut. Don't linger indefinitely in this relationship if you are not seeing positive changes and he is not willing to work towards changing his behaviour. And know that you are not responsible for his behaviour. He makes choices about how he treats you. He could equally choose to show concern that you seem dissatisfied, ask what he can do to help and share his frustrations with you in a way that is not demeaning to you. He could choose to problem solve with you so that you can both have a work/life balance that both of you are satisfied with. But he doesn't.

If you are both willing to do some deep soul searching and marriage counselling there may be hope. If he is not interested in working with you towards building a more respectful, loving relationship then you have your answer. Of course relationships will always have their ups and downs. People will always disagree with each other. That is normal. It is how it is handled that is important. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. So does he. So if he can open up to you in a respectful way about his frustrations do him the service of listening with an open heart (he probably has some legitimate concerns). And expect the same of him. If he is abusive then the conversation is over. Divorce is not easy, but living in an abusive relationship is like a living hell and it only gets worse over time. It is also a bad environment for your baby too row up in. Your baby needs a positive male role model. And believe me, my children were affected by their dad's abuse. Is there a trusted person you can confide in about this? Don't go through this alone. Reach out to others for support. You could be pleasantly surprised. But is needs to be someone you know really well and really trust. Wishing you all the best.

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