He Put His Arms Around Me....

We were leaving a friend's dinner party when we bumped into a former neighbor, Yumiko, who is married to a banker over a dozen years older. She was in a skimpy dress, on her way to a raucous bar, her two children asleep at home with her husband. She was going to meet another older female friend who just divorced her husband at the bar, and she asked if we would like to join her. I was glad to see her, and thought why not? So my husband and I jumped into a cab with her. The bar was beginning to warm up with hungry looking men and a handful of women milling about, nursing cocktails and making their way around the room. The music started getting louder and bodies started to thump to the music. Two good looking guys came up to make small talk, and I could sense that one was eying Yumiko while the other was angling a bit closer to me. At this point, my husband put his arms decisively around my waist to signal that I'm "off limits", and he backed off. Yumiko then joined them at the crowded bar, dancing excitedly while their hands roved over her scantily clad body. Soon enough, her friend, a thin, haggard, sulky looking woman in her fifties dressed even more daringly in black leather arrived and they both disappeared into the testosterone-fueled crowd. Till the time we hopped into a cab to take us home, my husband never once let go of me. When we got home, we stepped right back into our sexless marriage. I went to curl up with my children who made a habit of sleeping in our bed, and my husband sprawled himself onto the living room couch and fell promptly asleep.

From the outside, we resemble the perfect couple. We had crushes on each other when we first met at work - he looked like a young Christopher Lambert and kept making unmistakable, lascivious advances. He had recently broken up with his model girlfriend of 4 years, after she had an abortion which he wasn't sure he would have agreed to, and which he felt he didn't have a say. She might have broken up with him, I never found out for sure. I was dating but they didn't work out well beyond the initial attraction - I must admit I'm not the easiest person to get along with, being well-educated, having strong views and unfortunately attracting the sort of men who wanted a pretty, easy-going girlfriend.

Soon, we were dating and having sex 3 times a day even though we fought frequently over other matters. In hindsight, although our interests were similar, we weren't a good match for each other, as our opinions and level of maturity varied so much. I got pregnant with our first child and we decided to get married. Our second child quickly followed, and after that, even though we love our beautiful children dearly, our sexless marriage started. Or perhaps the disconnect happened first, as our fights worsened. He had some extremely strange views, he called me an immoral ***** when I quit my job and wanted to bring home samples of the work I did in the office where I worked for 6 years. For years, I tried to get him to see reason, and he did try to improve, but his maturity remained low. He makes jokes that I find stupid, and he loves whooping it up with the young interns he hired for the office he started. He spends his days and nights at the office or out with his friends. He is doing badly at work, making dumb decisions and choices, ignoring my advice. He did not give me any household income/rent money this past month as he just lost a client.

I guess we don't like each other very much now, and the years without any sex or intimacy, not even kisses, contribute to our alienation. Yet he refuses to accept my offers of divorce and he guards me jealously against any perceived interest from other men, even my old friends or flames, who are all only friends. He is, however, a wonderful father to our children, and he wants us to stay together for their sake.

I work very little for his office now, as I cannot stand the way he runs the office, and I busied myself with raising the children. He never bought me anything, not jewelry, clothes, dinners, etc. and I didn't ask these from him as he was always too cheap or too broke. Frankly, I don't need luxuries or material goods, I need love, intimacy, communication, which he never gave, even though those do not cost a cent.

My children are young and they need both of us - this is the only reason I have not left, even though I asked for a divorce many times. We don't even talk to each other now, not to mention engage in any form of intimacy. I used to take admirers for granted - I would receive unsolicited phone numbers and emails from strangers and threw them away. I broke a few hearts in the past, turned down a couple of offers of marriage, due to my own insecurities and fears. I was picky, I didn't want to sleep around, and I almost feel as if karma is biting me back now. Viciously.

My biggest fear is that this continues indefinitely, the financial stress getting worse, the years of sexlessness stretches to my middle age and beyond. I cannot understand my husband, and I have grown to dislike him. I have no wish or intrest to engage in sexual affairs, like my friend Yumiko, I'd rather have a clean break before I start seeing other men again. I am lost, depressed, and have not the faintest idea what I should do.

Right now, my impulse is to announce it to everyone on Facebook, that we're separating. I know it is not wise, it's a desperate tantrum, but I feel as if there is no other way to end this.
AnnaKarenina AnnaKarenina
36-40, F
22 Responses Jul 14, 2010

i'm so sorry about your story. i can only imagine what you're going through. i am going through some of the same things, but not the gaurding in public and ignoring at home. i hate my life and sometimes myself.<br />
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Anna, If your husband gets a divorce from you he will not have anyone to cheat on and get the thrill of cheating. <br />
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I learned this from the male I wasted 10 years of my life on.<br />
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He learned this behavior from witnessing his father who had a mistress and ran around with other one-night stand woman/or paid women. <br />
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His mother, like you, after quite a few years of being neglected, finally had it and acted out sometimes at his father when he finally came home. She was not violent, but just unhappy with him and it was more felt than said words. He thought that his fathers actions were justified because who would want to go to bed with someone like his mother anyway, the way that she was always mad when he was around. <br />
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As more time goes, your kids will pick up on your mood when he is around. He will probably seem happy, having his cake and eating it too. Your children will see you as the bad guy and learn his that his behavior is right. Meanwhile you are being abused. Yes, abused, neglect is abuse. If his actions are LOVE what is hate. You are worthy of more, even on your own with your children. He is not a wonderful father if he is teaching them something this distructive. They need to see two people who love each other. When your husband is happy it is from deceit...not love.

Anna, it sounds like you have a good perspective on your situation. You know what is best for your kids. It's a bit surprising that someone that behaves as your husband would be a good role model for your kids, but again, when it comes to children I have no credibility to back my hot air. I did read somewhere that you should look at the father of your children to see if he has the qualities and values that you want your children to have. <br />
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm grinding you a bit, I don't mean to come across as a jerk, it just happens naturally with me :) <br />
I truly sympathize, and my heart goes out to you. Nobody deserves to be treated the way you are, but I also understand that the answers are never as easy as they seem to others. Keep sharing and let us know how thing are going. All the best,<br />

combook, Yes he would. He is extremely possessive. After reading the stories of many others, I realize myself that even though I *love,love,love* sex, LOVE SEX. I'm willing to go without if there's at least some connection, some love. Sex is easy to come by with casual acquaintances, but love isn't. I guess I've always looked for love in order to have mind-blowing fulfilling sex. I'm wired that way.

Would he ob<x>ject strongly if you dated someone else for sex? That might be a better alternative than divorce, consider the children.

TW, Thank you for sharing your familial history, and it's amazing that your younger brother thrived immediately upon leaving with your mom. Did your older brother find a way out of his drinking and unhealthy marriage? It's great that you're doing so well on your own now, except for your refuser spouse. It is difficult for me as my husband is great with the kids, and they will be devastated if either of us move out. Although we're unhappy and fight frequently, we behave relatively well in front of the kids, not to mention we hardly speak to each other these days. Ultimately, I do think we're headed for divorce, as this problem has been left simmering for years, and as far as I can tell, it is an incurable disease. There are yet some puzzles, eg. why do male refusers do this?, but I hope everything falls into place soon and I can muster the courage to leave, knowing it is the right thing to do for al of us.

Anna, I want to share something to consider where children are involved. Please keep in mind I have no children of my own, so I may just be blowing smoke.<br />
I think this is important, so I'm going to post it up as an experience later, but you will get it first. I am the middle of three boys. I have a brother each 6 years senior and 12 years junior. My older brother and I grew up in the same household, I'll say it was dysfunctional, and leave it at that. My older brother had drinking problems starting in his early teens. He has been in unhealthy relationships, and his marriage is also unhealthy. He currently has problems dealing with stress and depression. <br />
I followed the same path. I had physical and emotional problems my entire childhood. I could barely function socially. I started binge drinking when I was 17. The lifestyle I led makes me wonder how I'm still here. I too am in a dysfunctional relationship, and am treated for depression.<br />
My youngest brother again, started on the same path as we did. But then something happened. My mother left my father and took my little brother with her. Up until he was 9 when she left, he had a learning disability and had been tested for Aspergers and Autism. Shortly after getting out of that environment here is what happened. <br />
He began to excel at school. He became involved in extracurricular activities and volunteering. He got into a prestigious high school on his own merit. He's received more awards than I can count, both in school and out. Duke of Edinburgh awards, scholarships, bursaries, and commendations from teachers and community figures. He has a scholarship in his name at the high school he graduated only 2 years ago. He's studying to be a teacher, he does NOT drink, and he's engaged to be married to a fantastic, healthy girl. This is just an overview of his accomplishments, I could go on forever about what he's done, I am incredibly proud of him. He not only escaped the traps that ensnared his older brothers, he excelled. I can only wonder where I'd be if I'd had the chance.<br />
What's my point? If you think that staying in a loveless marriage is the best thing for your kids, think again. We know what's going on, and you have no idea the damage it can do. I'm sure this isn't always the case, everyone's circumstance is different. Just something to consider. All the best,<br />

notseekinghookups, Music *must* be a great way to let it out, to express feelings that are beyond what words can say. I feel so much distress sometimes, that other than tears, there are no other ways to convey them. Used to have musician friends too, almost dated a couple of punk/grunge ones during college, it is a blessing to be thus talented. I used to think my husband and I were well-matched because we liked the same music and went to the concerts of the same bands, how silly.<br />
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h20guy2du, I felt such immeasurable relief when I found this site and the support group. It helps simply to know that I'm not alone. I am learning from everyone's experience, their stories and their courage. Some clear patterns have emerged, and I'm seriously pondering my next, and possibly more decisive move. We've seen a therapist, but it wasn't terribly helpful. I'm still looking for the male refuser's side of the story, would be helpful if someone can point it out. I've read the female's side, and honestly, it doesn't apply as I'm not some gross p o r n addict leaving stains all over the keyboard!<br />
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BrokeElectrix, I really must read up on your stories - did you ever figure out what's wrong with your husband? You sound like you're doing very well now with your current boyfriend, and I hope that it works out excellently for you both in the end. It is great to hear of happier endings, offers hope that the way out leads to something better. My poor friend did not even choose her divorce - her husband lost everything during the last economic meltdown, got depressed and simply took off, leaving her and their son behind. Fortunately, her parents are able to help support her and her son, and she now works for the family's business.

Or- you know what? you can ask me non privately if that's better for you. Since this site is anonymous I'll be 100% honest and let everyone else learn from my experience too. That's just not something most online forums provide....

AnnaKarenina- your profile says you are 36-40 which isn't old, so I highly doubt you will end up alone and unfulfilled and you still have plenty of time to learn what you want in a partner. You have learned SO much from this. I am not remarried yet but I have NOT been alone either. "Soul mate" might be a fictitious standard but after what you and I have been through, a good friendship with a good hearted man with a good sex drive is a GREAT relationship! We aren't the women who look for shallow things in a relationship, we aren't dazzled by a fancy car or a perfect smile. That makes us more likely to find a meaningful relationship with a man who has discovered the same things. <br />
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I have spent the last year with a man who has a child of his own, he had a wife who hated him and talked down to him and being that his divorce is more recent than mine, he is still fighting with her. You friend is right- it's NEVER easy. NEVER. But for some of us the hardships of single motherhood and divorces are worth the freedom and hope it provides us. Not everyone has the same experience, she may regret her situation, and I do not regret mine. <br />
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My point was that I have dated 4 guys, 2 were just nonsex ual actual "dates" dinners and lunches and stuff...then I had a real relationship (word of warning here- this guy was so much better than my ex that I didn't see where he was deficient as a possible mate at first) and after he and I parted ways (which DID hurt quite a bit) I met the guy I am with now who is a step up in my opinion. <br />
So- life and love is a learning experience, and I may not be the best person to give relationship advice but each guy I have dated has been a "step- up" from the last which means I'm doing better and better. I'm really happy with the guy I am with now. He would like to marry me but I am the first person he's been with since his divorce and I am not going to marry him anytime soon just in case this thing we have is his equivalent to my first "real" relationship post divorce. I want to stay realistic. <br />
If you have any questions about divorce and my personal story you can ask me privately- I will be 100% honest with you. Regarding ALL of it. Sometimes you need another person's experience perspective before you decide what course of action is the right one for you.

Your fear that this will continue on is a valid fear if you do not take steps to address the issues. Have you seeked marriage counseling either by yourself or with your husband? Sometime talking things our with a mediator may help in either addressing the issues and improving your marriage or bring out the fact that your marriage needs to end. Either way, you would be controlling your life and your future which might help you with the emotional stress of a sexless marriage such as depression.<br />
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The people here at EP are a very good support system and they have helped in so many ways but all we can do is offer support. We really cannot help you take the steps you need to take to address your situation. Only you can do that. Be strong for both you and your family.

Wow. So sorry to hear all that. Definatly immature. I mean I was into probably my mid twenties or so. I liked being with my friends type stuff, but dang, that really is bad. Even in my more immature days I didn't go drinking, partying with the friends much because that never was much of my thing. I used to enjoy the very occasional night of a pool game & a couple of beers with friends but it was maybe 3 times a year. Now I lost interest in even that. It just isn't fun for me anymore. Besides being a full time caregiver I don't have time or energy for it.<br />
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About the only time I am in a bar now is if my band has a gig there. I just see so many people ruining their lives, their marriages, their kids etc. with it it has kept me from that path. Luckily my band is established enough now that we rarely have to play bars. When we do it is usually to help out a couple of friends who own them. Also being this close to New Orleans there are tons of festivals, large music clubs (yea a type of bar but not the usual) Casino's opening for big name acts & concerts to do. <br />
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But anyway I digress. The issues your husband has goes way beyond just drinking & bars. He may well be having the mid life crisis thing going on. Especially where he is doing the bevis & butthead jokes with young interns thing. Doesn't excuse the behavior. I got through my mid life thing by refocusing on being a rock musician. Guess I am still in it at 48...lol But even I know to keep the 20 something groupies at bay. (doesn't happen that often..hey I'm 48..lol) But if he is that immature all his adult life then there is probably not much that can be done to change that. He could be mentally stunted permenantly. <br />
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He sounds EXACTLY like one of my brother in laws. He doesn't drink any more because he is a recovered alcoholic. But when he visits he drives me nuts. The fart under the armpit songs he can play are especially annoying...lol But he sounds just like your husband. He does stuff that just make me go.."how old is he again"?..lol He's actually 46 but seems to be mentally 12. I really feel for you & hope the best outcome for you. Whatever that may be. Others had great advice in that if you do divorce take steps now to protect yourself.

BrokeElectrix, Thank you so much for your advice. I find them very helpful, which is why I posted. You're not judgmental at all, even bazzor's criticism did raise some good points, as I'm sure the contempt I feel for my husband shows on my face and contributes to the downward spiral. It's great that you're sharing your regrets, that I could avoid them. Normally, I will refuse casual sex, but I think about it sometimes when i am in a vengeful mood, not the best state of mind to make such decisions!<br />
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I am much encouraged by the fact that your family works out better now, *after* the divorce, the tension seems to have eased. If only I could "see" that in my future, or get my husband to "see it. He is extremely angry with me now, for raising the divorce issue again.<br />
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I am fearful about the future, tbh, marriage is a comfort in many ways. I fear being alone, and unable to find a soulmate to the day I die. I have a wonderful, generous, kind, sweet-tempered female friend who has been divorced and remains single for over a dozen years, she hasn't found anyone. She is a better person than I am, and she has been telling me that being divorced and raising her son alone has been very hard on her, to not go down this route, to try to make things work. This is why I have not mustered the courage to end this loveless, sexless marriage.

I think that you should not cheat on your husband. I believe you have come to far and endured too much in your marriage to go down as the philandering wife. I also think that cheaters eventually get caught and if your concern is for your children then imagine how that would shape their opinion of you and of the sanctity of marriage.<br />
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But even more I would like you to consider this: You children look to you as the number 1 role model. If you are unhappy they will learn that. It becomes normal to them and they will not be able to recognize happiness. If you are raising daughters then my fear is you are showing them it is ok to be in a marriage like yours. If you are raising sons you are role modeling that it's acceptable to treat your wife this way, sleep on the couch...etc.<br />
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Please don't take this as judgment, I would be the last person with aright to judge you. I have 2 boys and was living in a horrible marriage, somewhat similar to your own. I started fooling around on the internet with pervy men who just wanted to have some live action ****...because I wanted attention and it seemed like a safe way to get it, but I realized I hated what I was doing, I hated my life, I loved my sons, and something HAD to change- I couldn't go on like that forever. I left my husband and my sons were under 1 and 5. Today they are 11 and 6 and I am in a new healthier and much happier place in my life. My oldest son remembers the life we had before the marriage and he has told me our life now is so much better. I believe that the hardships he watched me endure in pursuit of a happier life have shown him that happiness is worth fighting for. <br />
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Today my exhusband and I are amicable business partners. Our business is raising these kids. Leaving a loveless marriage was traumatic the first year and a half, but we have settled in, realized we are both happier and let go of past resentments. Don't get me wrong- I'm still irritated by him and sometimes I think he's a stupid douche, and I am sure he thinks am a complete ***** at times. But surprisingly since money isn't our issue and he doesn't owe me anything (sex or money since child support comes directly out of his check) we have very little to fight about anymore. I think since the love was already long long gone before I filed the divorce, it made the healing process and adjustment easier on him and I and we use "for the sake of the kids" a lot even still....as in "let's try to come to an agreement about Jr dying his hair and not fight about it for the sake of the kids..."<br />
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My message to you is that hope is worth fighting for. Love is as important as food and air. Children can see the difference between a happy parent and an unhappy one and they would rather have happy ones. And most of all, preserve your self worth at all costs. <br />
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It's not a totally happy ending- Divorce never is- but it sure as hell beats the alternative which was staying with him and us both spending our lives on this earth being miserable.<br />
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Good luck to you.

He didn't feel there was anything wrong with asking me to pay half for the hotel - according to him to this day, I was being difficult, sulky and petulant on our honeymoon, a bad omen. Yes, I could have paid, but I just felt like my world shattered. He thinks I have made him out to be the "villain", but he simply doesn't see that his actions are hurtful to me. In the end, it is the inability to empathize with me that poses the greatest obstacle, he cannot understand my anguish at all these things which he deems unimportant or he thinks they just stem from my own dour disposition and judgmental character. His father now knows of my decision to separate, I'm somewhat worried. According to him, his father has some money, and I'm afraid they will fight me tooth and nail for custody.

What is funny about Yumiko's marriage is that her husband does know she is hitting the bars - she left home looking gorgeous in a very revealing dress at 11pm on a Sat. night. She got married/pregnant at 23, and is only 28 now, and she hinted she needed more "fun" as she felt like she has missed out.<br />
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notseekinghookups, he's going to turn 40 soon, and he likes to crack butthead jokes around interns half his age, it is so obvious he prefers their company to mine, always some guys he could go drinking and hanging out with, having fun, and later, he will b*tch about how they are not his "real friends" over some slight, sigh..., like I said, mismatch. I know why and how friendships are formed, definitely not over rounds of drinks and jokes, I work hard to keep them, but maybe I just don't understand men. I am his wife, I listened to him when he's angry at the world, I helped him so much in his work, I am raising his children, I keep the family together, how deep this is, how a marriage should be meaningful, yet when some new friends he's met call, he's gone and stays away from me like the plague. He doesn't want to "talk" to me, his wife, and I no longer wish to try. I'm afraid that the contempt shows if I look into the mirror, like bazzar mentioned, but it is true I can't bear it.

So sorry to hear of your plight. Sounds like the hubby is emotionally immature in many ways. Still likes to go drinking and partying with friends but ignore financial resposibilities at home. That's a serious problem. Sometimes guys like that grow up & sometimes not. But if they don't the last thing they need to do is get married & have kids. So sorry he was only thinking about himself & not his family. In whatever path you choose, best of luck.

Thank you vegassbaby, for your encouragement. Haha, I read your other comment about the "Sexless Liberation", I'd like to borrow your flag one of these days!<br />
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Oh wow, thank you CuyamaGal, that is a brilliant observation! I haven't thought of it that way. I do think Yumiko is a smart one, but feel sorry for her in a way, and these unhappy wives are doing the bar scene to reassure themselves they are attractive and to enjoy the partying and attention. I've got to be more self-aware than that, especially if I want the kids. But you are completely astute, that my husband acts very sexual with me outside, but slinks to his computer and couch the moment we're home. I am coming to the realization that there is no cure, after witnessing so many other stories, thousands, and I have always harbored some hope.<br />
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*update* CuyamaGal seems to have deleted her comments, hope it wasn't something I said. I will remember it as sound advice. Thank you everyone, it offers a boost of confidence, knowing there's a right way and wrong way to go about this.

Thank you AC, I try very hard to shield my children from our animosities. They are traumatized every time we fight, as they rightly love both of us. He is a great father to them, and I try my best to be a good mother, but our kids know that we are unhappy together, for sure. My husband will take them out with him without me, so they are getting used to seeing us leading separate lives, which is a good start. Tbh, I don't want to divorce him, but I am out of ideas how to improve things between us, as our marriage is quite horrible, we are truly mismatched, we even have vile opinions of each other, haha, as it must have been apparent, unlike some of you luckier ones who have a loving but nonsexual relationship. I understand it is subjective, he could very well suit a different type of woman, I'm sure. I might stick with it if I feel cherished and loved, even without the sex. I tried to read books, tried therapy once. He isn't even interested in doing something to help our marriage, just absence and silence. I'm not sure he even appreciates my efforts. Plus 7 years with no hugs, no kisses, and sex once or twice a year is very, very difficult. I just hang on, but I am encouraged to make a break, seeing how many of you found your happiness after divorcing. He refuses to divorce, perhaps because he fears the loneliness, the trauma, perhaps he still cares for me in some way, which breaks my heart. Yumiko showed me a way out, I think, but I do not wish to engage in extra-marital sex as a solution, not a moral judgment, but it isn't "me", though I do admire her for finding a way to cope with it. Sex comes with the package "love", to me. I still lack courage to move out. Perhaps it will come. Phew, it all comes pouring out. I've been lurking, so this is cathartic.

AK, <br />
I read your story and your comments here, there and elsewhere. You sound like a loving person who is suffering. I would like to recommend that you change your fr<x>ame of reference: The details do not matter. The only detail that matters is that your husband does not love you. Stay focussed on that detail. <br />
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The old saying: " Love conquers all. " is true. If your husband loved you, none of the bickering would happen. When the two of you disagree, you would each listen to eachother. Your husband would find the differences between you to be fun. <br />
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For your own sanity, you have to leave your unloving husband. He is tormenting you and you will become an unpleasant parent. You would not be seeking out help on the internet otherwise, right?

No, I did say we're mismatched. I am more of an introvert, he is sociable, loves parties and drinking. I don't mind leading separate social lives, but it gets to the point where he only goes out with me once a month at most. Although I worked and helped to secure some contracts for us, I did not receive any pay, just what he gave me for rent and household expenses even when the office was doing well and he paid himself handsomely.<br />
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You ignored the part where he acted irrationally and called me names for wanting to retrieve my own work from my old office, based on some bizarre notion that although they are 100% my work, they do not belong to me even though I am only using them as samples of my work in my portfolio. He had accused me of flirting when I didn't, of doing a hundred other things he found unpleasant. I did mention we fought didn't I? We lost a few important contracts because he wanted to do it his way, instead of listening to my reasons to do it differently, even though I had a share in the company, and this led to our current dire straits. I couldn't stand it that he spent 80% of the time in office telling jokes to the interns, chatting on non-work matters for hours on end, when we should be WORKING. Whether the person running the firm is my husband or someone else, this lack of professionalism is unacceptable. Believe me, if he runs the firm properly, I'd back off and be grateful for the income, or lack thereof when the economy headed south.<br />
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Even on our honeymoon to a nearby city, he wanted me to pay for half of the hotel ($180 per night for 2 nights), when he could afford it??!! I would have been glad to stay in a cheaper hotel, even a motel, it would at least be a "treat" from him, my newly wed husband. And it is true that he never bought me anything, not on my birthday nor Christmas, not even a tiny gift, even when he could have afforded it. Instead, he spent $$$ out dining and drinking with his friends. For my part, I used to buy birthday and Christmas presents for him and his parents, I have since stopped buying them for him but I still send presents to his family on special occasions. It is the gesture that counts, that says, we care, we remember you and we're showing our appreciation with this inexpensive gift. I have NOT encountered another husband like that, from any income bracket, yet these are not the reasons for leaving. They merely add to the stress of the marriage.<br />
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You do not know either of us, or our lives in detail, yet you are quick to judge that the problems stem from my side.

"He makes jokes that I find stupid" <br />
"He is doing badly at work, making dumb decisions and choices, ignoring my advice" <br />
"I work very little for his office now, as I cannot stand the way he runs the office" <br />
"He never bought me anything" <br />
"as he was always too cheap or too broke" <br />
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Might be time you got out a mirror and had a good hard look at yourself. He might not find your judgements of his actions terribly appealing.