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      Hello, as you’ve probably guessed, I’m new here and not quite sure I belong, or maybe just not ready to admit I do?! While waiting for my account to be activated, I started to write down some of what brought me here, things as they came to mind and it’s turned into a bit of an essay so don’t worry too much about reading it all!!!!

      My husband and I have been married for quite a few years and have 3 amazing children. Our relationship moved very fast early on. He has always been insecure because of his previous relationships. Because of this, I have always done everything to prove he can trust me. I stopped going out with friends as I knew he didn’t like it, I lost a friend because I kept cancelling on her. Would wear dark tights with skirts as he preferred it, flat shoes instead of heels, dress more mumsy after having our children as it’s how a mum should look, wear less make-up. We spent 24/7 together other than when he was at work. In public he goes between being charming, delightful, funny, charismatic, tries to embarrass me but in a way everyone thinks is a joke and cute and sometimes he will be short, rude and barely say 2 words to people, making things really awkward. He is a loving father, although short-tempered but the kids and I are pretty much his entire world. He has no interest in friends or making friends.

      When we argue, he gets very aggressive. Not physically against me but very loud and angry. In the past, he has smashed things, put his foot through our kitchen bin, used the iron to hit the ironing board with so much force that the board was completed dented and needed replaced (he thought this was funny the next morning). He has lifted his hand in a fist and I dared him to hit me, part of me wished he would but I know, even now, he wouldn’t ever. These incidents are generally few and far between – it’s mostly verbal. He is always really cruel with what he says during an argument and apologises after. He openly admits he says those things because he knows they hurt and it’s to get a rise of out me. He says I don’t contribute to our family, especially when i wasn’t working. When I challenged him on this recently after I took the children and left for a night, he apologised and said of course I contribute to the house, the children and my friends, I just don’t contribute to him. I don’t do anything for him out of the goodness of my heart, I don’t consider him in anything……all this has started to be said since I began making changes and putting myself first, i’ll come back to this later.

      I walk on eggshells constantly. I feel sick if I make plans with friends, (which I am forcing myself to do now) because i know he won’t like it and have to work up the courage to tell him. He asks who I’m speaking to every time I’m on the phone, asks who’s messaging when my phone pings. If I smile at a message, he asks what I’m smiling at, who has text, what they have said. He says I need to come off social media as it’s toxic and a waste of time yet the one time I did disable one of my social accounts as I felt I wanted a break from it, he went in a bad mood and kept going on saying I obviously wanted to hide something and how strange it was until I restarted it! Sometimes I won’t answer a call if I’m busy, if it’s my dad, he tells me I should always answer and be thankful I still have a dad, should always make time for him etc. When my dad said once he was coming through, I said yep no problem see you soon and my husband, he was standing beside me, made a sound to let me know he wasn’t happy and when I came off the call he said he likes at least a day’s notice and it wasn’t really convenient for my dad to come round. Sometimes it feels like I can’t do right for doing wrong! He doesn’t like my mum, he makes it really awkward when she comes round so I stand outside and talk to her and I never invite her in for coffee or anything.

      When it comes to sex, I haven’t ever actually said no to him, ever. I have pushed him away, re-done buttons he has undone, he will hold my hands away with one of his hands and continue with the other, I’ve been totally unresponsive to his advances but he continues anyway and once said to me that he knows I enjoy it once I get going. Times when he has given up because I have continued to push away, he has gone in a bad mood and kept making comments for days after until he got what he wanted. Over time, it became easier to give in and now I don’t even bother to try and stop him as he won’t give up and in the time it takes him to wear me down, it can be over and done with if I just don’t bother trying to stop it. (detail removed by Moderator) there was an occasion when I had been out with friends and came home very drunk and was in and out of consciousness (was a ridiculous state to be in, i know!) – he was waiting up for me coming in and I don’t remember a whole lot else. I know we had sex but this incident makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

      This last year, I have taken a bit of a stance with the help of a friend who I have confided in about everything and has been a huge support. After so many years together, I no longer feel I should have to prove myself to him and his trust issues can only be dealt with by him. I have suggested counselling for him and/or us (I didn’t want him to feel alone in this) but he just says he doesn’t need counselling, he only needs me to be more supportive and understand his stress, doing what I can to reduce this and make his life easier. However, now I have started to build friendships again, it doesn’t come without problems. The friends I have, are parents of my children’s friends so we don’t go out often without the children. When we do go for drinks, my husband will make jokes to my kids about how I am probably off meeting another man and I don’t love them anymore. My youngest now gets upset when I go out and although it makes me feel incredibly guilty, I make a point of still going (I can count on 1 hand how many nights out I’ve had in the last year so this isn’t a regular thing). He has always made a big thing about the weekends being family time but now I sometimes arrange things with friends and kids at the weekend as it’s the only time we’re all available – which also results in guilt-trips, bad moods and punishment(?)

      I have very recently gone back to work (detail removed by Moderator). I was a stay at home parent and studying. When I got my degree (detail removed by Moderator), despite some personal difficulties & lockdown (detail removed by Moderator) his first response was to ask if a (detail removed by Moderator) was bad and couldn’t I have done better. Anyway, I LOVE my work, I look forward to going every day. My husband is unhappy in his job, which I know and have said I would support him with a move. He quite openly admits he hates that I love going into work and he wanted me to hate it like a normal person. Since I started work, he has done less to help with things at home which feels like he is punishing me by making life more difficult. Before I applied for the role I’m in, I asked him about it as it would mean he had to drive me (I don’t drive yet) and he was very supportive. Now reality has set in and he continually complains about having to take me and pick me up, saying I’m an inconvenience and disrupting his day. I have recently confided in my managers about some of what is happening at home and they have been really brilliant and supportive.

      Fortunately, sex isn’t a regular occurrence these days as we sleep separately due to my daughter’s medical needs but I have no interest in having sex with him so I need to actually start saying no, not just physically as he may see this as a game but verbally – I haven’t managed this yet and have used other ways to avoid it altogether and times when I haven’t been successful, I have given in again!

      I have started to see some things differently but maybe slightly over-reacting. We have on occasion had some play fights which are all good and well. But there are times when he’ll be making a cup of tea and I’m standing beside him, he’ll quickly put the hot spoon on me as a joke. If he goes into the (detail removed by Moderator) drawer and I’m near, he’ll pull it open all the way so it hits into me and then say oops sorry. He will come up behind me and nip the back of my arm, again being funny. He will wring a towel and use it to whip at me, not usually catching me with it but he knows I don’t even like the threat. I have told him to stop all these things but he just says it’s a bit of fun. I’m maybe being a bit over-sensitive here because of everything else and these instances aren’t ever during an argument or at a time he’s unhappy with me!

      He tells me I’m the reason for his anger. He’s stressed with work and I need to be more supportive. He gets nothing, we (the kids and I) take everything from him but when he gets something new, he tells me to use it, he gets huffy when I refuse. He says I need to show my appreciation for all he does, say thank you more. We’re not far off (detail removed by Moderator) decades together and I still have to thank him for every cup of coffee he makes – I love coffee and he knows I appreciate every one haha! But I have to say thank you or I’m ungrateful! He will drink from my coffee before handing it to me – which really annoys me and probably sounds really petty. I have asked him not to, he often has his own coffee anyway but he does it deliberately now!

      He needs to know where I am all the time. Even if I’m at home. If I go to the bathroom, where I often lock myself away for some quiet, he will come through the house looking for me (we live in a (detail removed by Moderator)!) If he comes in from the shops or out of another room, I can hear him asking the kids where I am. If I’m sitting on the laptop, like I am now, he will ask what I’m doing and then make a reason to come over and look at the screen.

      Despite detailing all of this, I’m not convinced it is abuse. Unhealthy, absolutely but abusive?? I don’t know if my husband means to do these things or realises that he does. I know he doesn’t see it as abuse as there have been a couple of occasions I have said something to him about his behaviour and he has gone on to make fun of me and will then do something nice saying oh better watch this isn’t abuse! I’ve enabled it all so it has become almost normal so I, in part at least, share the blame for how long I’ve allowed it to continue.

      Each time I read over this I think of more to add and I think it’s long enough so I’ll stop here and well done to anyone who has gotten this far.

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