I deserve better

I’ve been married for 8 years and I have a son aged seven. I always had a slight problem with my husband even before getting married. We’ve been together for a total of 13 years but it feels like I’m suffocating and I wish that I can run away from this situation. 

After our first year of marriage he decided to open a business, and I had to accept at all costs even though I was scared of how we were going to manage financially since I was not working due having just given birth. A few months after the birth of my son, he started coming home arguing that I should be working by this time like others do, but in my situation it was impossible to do so. He began refusing to give me money and I had to ask and cry that I need to buy things for the baby. After almost three years I found a good job and we decided that he will take care of our son and take him to play-school in the morning while I’d be at work. But this was the worst idea I’d  ever come up with. I was not living but only existing arriving from work at 5pm to cook for me and my son, wash and sleep, while my husband goes to work.

After about two years my husband’s business grew and he decided to open another shop, thus I had to stop working again to care for my son. Now we went back again to the old story – I’m not working and totally depending on him. He is giving me a very hard time, always moaning that it’s not right that he’s working day and night for us, and when he is at home if I switch on the light or water he switches it off immediately, telling me that he’s the one paying for it. There is no love between me and my husband anymore, nothing that a normal couple have. We are living together because of my son and no other reason. I really wish I could leave but I have nothing – no money and nowhere to go. What can I do?

Jasmine 

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Dear Jasmine,

It is time to reclaim your power. You’re feeling helpless at the moment but that is not the real picture. It seems that way to you because due to your current circumstances your self-esteem has been effected and you’ve been worn down from the lack of support from your husband and rat-race lifestyle you describe. It has become a reality to many, but while some thrive on this level of stress (maybe even to the detriment of other needs), others may not physically and/or emotionally afford, or actually even desire, to keep up with this lifestyle. Some have a convenient family/friends support network, energy levels, motivation to maintain this lifestyle, others don’t. The industrial mould is not for everyone. It is pointless to compare ourselves to others as we all have different make ups and different variables are at play.

It seems that work pressure, high stress levels, parenthood and the decisions you and your husband made or didn’t make regarding these has effected your marriage negatively and there’s quite a bit of resentment from both sides.

Motherhood effects women (and their men) differently. It was insensitive and unhelpful of your husband to compare you to others during a time in your life when you most needed his emotional and practical support. Such hurtful attitudes are bound to cause resentment and a distance between you. On the other hand, it seems that your husband may have interpreted your caution regarding setting up a new business as your being not supportive of his vision or holding him back. He may be feeling that he’s been carrying the financial responsibility for the family on his own and expressing it in disrespectful and non-constructive ways – which you needn’t put up with in any case – and disregarding your role in raising a young child which is a full-time job already. Ideally issues regarding balancing family and work-life between partners would be discussed and agreed on before taking them on, but sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially when one of the partners may have a domineering personality. High stress and pressure levels can bring out the worst in people and may even trigger off personality disorders or psychotic tendencies when there is such an unbalanced lifestyle.

You will feel victimised only if you allow it. Take responsibility for your role in your current situation, accept yourself the way you are and learn from your mistakes. Find ways to raise your energy levels through, for example, meditation, journal writing, your faith, contact with nature and then take the necessary steps to change your situation.

It looks like your mind is already made up and you want out of the marriage. You may want to contact Cana Movement (21238942) who offer counselling services and also legal advice to help you get back on your feet and so that you can find out what you may be entitled to financially if you decide to separate from your husband. Getting a part-time job might be a good idea to help you reclaim some independence and improve your self-esteem. Whatever decisions you make, you deserve to be happy and it is your responsibility to achieve it.