"Abandoned" by husband

Hi all,

I got married later in life and I am in a marriage now for six years. We have no children. I got into this marriage hastily, only after knowing my husband about four months. On top of that I saw a lot of questionable things about his character that didn’t match up to his claim of being a faithful Catholic. I will admit that I don’t have a lot of backbone and have a quiet personality. When we were courting he was very attentive and charming. He was pushing the idea of us getting married within months of meeting (and his friends were “encouraging” us as well). I felt pressured and just went ahead with it. All the while I knew that I was doing the wrong thing, but didn’t have the guts to brake it off with him.

I do not believe in divorce and, despite the mess I got myself into, want to do my best to be faithful in my role as a wife. However, to work at a marriage it takes two and I feel as if I have been abandoned by my husband.

My husband was active in our parish but it seemed as if once I got the ring on my finger he started dropping one responsiblity after another. Now he just goes to Mass on Sunday and sometimes misses weeks. He is retired and just stays home and either watches TV all day or plays video games. Most nights he is up through the night until 5 or 6 in the morning. It’s like that (video games) has become his reality. When he plays his video games online he talks to other people and uses vulgar language and makes racial slurs at other players who are of various ethnicities. I have a full-time job and pay most of the bills, food, gas for our two cars, etc. as his monthly check doesn’t go far and he is very irrisponsible with money. He is not self-sufficient and can just about microwave a frozen meal. He will be verbally and emotinally abusive toward me . . . then gets all attentive and sweet-talking to smooth things over with me and this is the constant cycle we are in. I feel like I am raising a strong-willed child instead of having an adult relationship with a spouse. His only responsibiilties in the home that he will do are taking the trash out and washing dishes and there are days when he complains to me that he even has to to this minimum of work. He will complain to me that there is not enough money for us to go out to eat where he would like or to go on a vacation to the beach every year, yet he won’t go and look for some type of part-time work to help us financially. I have been in my own personal counseling and having tried to set boundaries in our relationship, but to no avail. He is manipulative and I can call him on things he does (like constant lying) but he doesn’t take responsibiiltiy for his actions and turns everything around on me. He is also very controlling and it has been a constant struggle for me to maintain friendships and to see my family, who reside in another state.

In any event, a friend of mine told me that I need to take responsiblity for my situation . . .problem is I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Does taking responsiblity mean - - -“Okay, you’ve made your bed, now you have to lie in it” and that I just remain in this situation “treading water” as I am, remaining faithful to the vows I made and in my role as a wife, living with a man who is totally irrisponsible and has no intention of changing OR does taking responsibliity mean that I might need to, say, possibly move out and separate from him? The latter would result in him having to face consequences such as him falling on his face financially and he would not have certain “benefits” of having a wife and maybe, in so doing, this would wake him up?

I am just at my wits end anymore. I struggle with depression, my work performance has suffered on the job and when I come home I am overwhelmed by what awaits me when I walk in the door. Last year I ended up in the hospital for 5 days because they thought I had a mini-stroke, but it was just all due to stress.

I appreciate any insight you folks might have. Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your story and I am sorry you are in such pain over your marriage.

No one can tell you what is the right thing to do. Even at home, all your close friends and family can manage to do is give you encouragement and advice. No one here on the internet is going to be able to give you solid solutions after reading a few paragraphs about your life and your marriage. I am not saying that to discourage you, but just to be honest as it seems your expectations coming here to Catholic Answers forums was to find clear answers and you probably won’t.

That being said I can assure you that many people here, including myself, will be praying for you. I would seek the advice of a priest at once and see if your husband will go with you. I wish I had more to offer you, please take care as best as you can. God bless.

There are so many people out there who do not understand what marriage is. I used to be critical of the high rate of annulments in the US, but now sometimes I wonder how many marriages are actually valid.

You don’t mention whether he is willing to go to counseling with you. If you haven’t asked him, that should be your first step. Otherwise, I think you need to determine whether you can live with him as he is for the rest of your life, and that is something only you can determine. If he is not willing to go to counseling, perhaps a separation, where you can both evaluate what would be best. It doesn’t mean throwing in the towel completely, but offers you and him a little space to figure things out.

I have a friend who was married for 14 years and had 7 kids with a functioning alcoholic. As his behavior got worse and he stopped coming home every night, she insisted he go to rehab. His response was to file for divorce, to scare her into submission, so things could go back to normal. She’s a very faithful Catholic and the type of person I aspire to be. She told me that when she got the divorce papers, she felt a sense of peace and she allowed the divorce to go through. She got an annulment, and realizes now that it was never a marriage, because it was based on lies. I am not saying that is your case, but with my friend, after years of struggle, it was only when that separation occurred that she could see the truth.

You should seperate from him and seek an annulment. You were pressured into this so-called “marriage” and he is dragging you down and making your life a misery.

can I ask where you are from? I don’t wish to give advice as I am unmarried and I’m a marriage counsellor so I really don’t know. However 4 months after knowing him you got married? What Priest done your pre-marriage classes? They normally take a good months themselves and if you had only known each other 4 months I don’t see why a Priest signed off on your entering the Sacrament.

I was asking where you are from in case marriage so soon is normal so a Priest wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

Where I live, people need to apply for marriage prep classes at least 6 before they get married. That means the engagement needs to be at least 6 months. And you dated for only 4 months? Is your marriage valid in the church?

I agree with the above posters who recommend marital counseling. Marriage takes two people and if only one person is putting forth any effort, then it simply will not work.

Dearest Sohpia64,

I agree with Monicad and urge you to seek the counsel of your Priest.

I would also direct your attention to some scripture in the hope that you will find some comfort, direction and hope in the meantime.

And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.
Mark 9:23

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
John 11:40

And remember this too…

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.
1 Peter 3:9

Hang in there, stay strong in faith and devotion to prayer and please seek the help of your Church leaders as soon as you possibly can.

No wonder he wanted you to marry him.

He will complain to me that there is not enough money for us to go out to eat where he would like or to go on a vacation to the beach every year, yet he won’t go and look for some type of part-time work to help us financially. I have been in my own personal counseling and having tried to set boundaries in our relationship, but to no avail. He is manipulative and I can call him on things he does (like constant lying) but he doesn’t take responsibiiltiy for his actions and turns everything around on me. He is also very controlling and it has been a constant struggle for me to maintain friendships and to see my family, who reside in another state.

Okay, enough. This guy found a very nice lady who he could mooch off of and abuse. Here’s what you do: get out.

You don’t believe in divorce? He doesn’t believe in marriage or being a husband. You don’t have to divorce him, but as Mother Angelica once wrote: You aren’t supposed to be a doormat, either.

Just leave. Take your stuff and get out. You don’t have to divorce him. Just get out. Or: get a lawyer, change the locks and throw him out.

Out.

He married you under false pretenses and is an abusive loser. Get out.

Now.

Make sure you talk to a lawyer to protect yourself from him coming after your money.

BTW - he also sounds clinically depressed and if he’d go to therapy it would be something your might stay and see through - but I doubt he’ll do a thing for himself as long as he doesn’t have to so…

If you absolutely refuse to consider leaving, stop paying the cable, stop paying for his car, take your own money and go see your family. Alone. Why should he bother doing anything if he knows you’ll do it, anyway?

So leave. Then he’ll have to do something. And you’ll feel like someone took that 12,000 pound load off your back and can find your self-esteem again.

My situation is complex and really do not want to get into more detail, but I appreciate the responses of those of you who replied.

Go talk to your priest.

DId you marry in the Catholic Church? Unless he found a priest willing to ignore Church law on marital preparation, I don’t see how you could have.

If you did not marry in the Church, this is not a valid marriage.

If you did marry in the Church, you should talk to your priest about your grounds for nullity.

Frankly, you need to get away from him, and protect yourself legally.

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