Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband treats me like the court jester and whipping boy combined. If something bad happens to me, my husband (of 18 years) laughs himself silly. He mocks me if I fall or if I dribble my food or if I really hurt myself like when I pinched my finger in the door yesterday. I feel so self-conscious now I am awkward and play into his game. If something goes wrong in the family, he heaps abuse on me for everything being "all my fault." I am often crying in the bathroom.
My husband was not like this when I met him, or I wouldn't have married him, but since he became unemployed it seems his major project has been to make me feel like an incompetent, blithering idiot when I'm the one who brings all the money home. He's lazy, hasn't worked in nine years, and is not the least bit sick. My sister hates him for the way he treats me, told him off a month ago, and won't come over any more.
Needless to say, I don't want to "make love" with him, or even give him maintenance sex. Today I moved my clothes into the guest room and left him with the master bedroom. It kind of suits us, doesn't it? I secretly had a workman in today, to put a lock on my new bedroom door. I don't want to get a divorce because two of the teenage kids are still at home. Please help me. -- Tears of a Clown, North End
Dear Tears: You're staying with this abuser because of the kids? Believe me, they have noticed the mocking behaviour of their father towards their mom and witnessed your reactions. You think the kids won't notice the bedroom shift? They are wondering what comes next, even if you try to blame it on snoring.
You are the breadwinner and you could afford to leave this man. At least, see a lawyer and an accountant quietly. It is time to create a tension-free home for the kids and for yourself, whatever way it needs to be done. Rock the boat mightily with your husband and set up counselling for the two of you now, and family counselling later, and get this ball rolling, one way or the other. Things can't stay the same, and it's time to make some changes.
If you stay in a relationship where you are being treated like you're a fool, and you're emotionally abused, then your kids are soaking up that tension and watching an unhealthy relationship that is supposed to be a marriage. They are subconsciously deciding which end of the stick they want to be on when they are married, and it isn't your end. Stand up and earn back their respect! You are in the financial position to do that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I take medications for three things, plus vitamins, supplements and such. I keep them in my medicine cabinet. I had a new boyfriend over for his first dinner date at my house with me. I had candles lit and champagne -- it was our first big night. Then he walked into the bathroom and I heard him hollering down the hallway, "Why do you have all these drugs and things in here? How sick are you anyway?"
I went to the bathroom and he was reading labels and holding my birth control pills. We ate dinner with him lecturing me about chemicals. In the middle, I said, "Just go. Get out of my house!" He said, "Gladly. You're one big hypochondriac, lady." Tonight I see he phoned to apologize. Should I give him a second chance? Guys are hard to come by for me. -- Bio Clock Ticking, River Heights
Dear Bio: Let your clock tick for someone else. You don't need a lifetime of this in order to have babies. This guy was snoopy, boorish and judgmental. Double your efforts to meet men so you're finding more choices and don't feel desperate. Join a golf club full of men this summer, learn to play a decent game and get involved in fun tournaments. It's not too late to volunteer to help at summer music and theatre festivals, which are also full of men. If you meet fun people you like there, ask them for coffee or drinks at a nearby patio. You can do it and you don't need him.
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