I have 3 children ages 21, 19, and 15 and have been married 24 years. About 5 years ago I became aware and took seriously the Church’s teaching on birth control. At that time I stopped practicing it and my wife was not willing to practice NFP and became very unhappy that I would no longer wear protection. So there has been no physical intimacy for the past 5 years or so. At that same time my wife also cut me off emotionally and became totally dominant in our marriage. She was always very headstrong but now she had become very angry about everything and very demanding and critical of me. I know now that I had become a doormat. She orders me around, cuts me off when she doesn’t like what I’m saying, criticizes how I eat, breath, and sneeze, undermines my authority with our children, can’t tolerate me sleeping in bed with her, demands that I not use the downstairs bathroom, goes on trips out of town with my daughter and makes it clear I’m not wanted, makes major decisions without my input, blames me for all her problems and our children’s problems and expects me to solve them all, criticizes me in front of the kids, etc.
My children have also come to believe that I am to blame for her unhappiness. I have worked at the same company for 25 years and have a very good income. I was actively involved with our church and with my kid’s activities when they were growing up. I was manager of their soccer teams, a scoutmaster, and I rarely missed a sporting or extracurricular event that my kids were involved with. My wife was also very involved with our children. She mostly stayed at home with the kids and home schooled them through 8th grade although she did work part time. We did argue a lot but there were periods when things were pretty good.
Gradually over the past 5 to 10 years, my wife has cutoff all of our extended family except for her dad and her grandmother both of whom we see only a couple of times a year. I have continued to stay in contact with my side of the family but it’s always awkward to go to events alone when everyone else is there with their families. She has missed 50th wedding anniversaries and weddings that we easily could have attended because she was too busy. She also allows the kids not to go and if I try to force them to go it gets ugly fast.
Earlier last year, my wife decided she wanted to move out of the area we are living in to somewhere warmer and where people are friendlier. She talked with my daughter about this and they decided this was a good idea before anything was ever said to me about it. I went along with it though as I had been in the habit of going along with everything (a doormat). So while they were looking for areas they would consider moving to my wife learned that her sister was starting a business and she had a job for her. She moved there with my daughter while I have been looking for work nearby there also. It’s about an 11 hour drive from where we have lived for the past 25 years.
Within a few months, the relationship with her sister soured and they could no longer get along and her sister fired her. Now my daughter and wife are living in another city 11 hours away from me with no support of family or friends nearby and neither of us have employment there. I want them to move back but my wife insists on staying there and will not even discuss any other option.
So I’m faced with a dilemma. It looks like I have a job prospect near where my wife and daughter are living now. Do I give up my job here of 25 years and start new in this other location or do I do stay here and become separated because our marriage has become so dysfunctional?
My son has been living with me here and while he is ready to move to where my wife is, I fear how this is going to work out for him. He tends to be a nervous and anxious person and sometimes has a hard time making friends. If I stay where I am and he moves where my wife is and things don’t work out he would at least have the option of coming back and staying with me here while he’s finishing college.
Also, I’m concerned about our relationship continuing the way it had been going. One of my wife’s reasons for wanting to move to begin with was that it would be a fresh start for us. Of course I’m skeptical that being in a different location will make any difference at all.
I also feel an obligation to be there for my daughter although our relationship has not been all that great. We use to be very close but when all this happened I think my wife’s attitude toward me has rubbed off on her.
So I’m trying to decide if I should agree to move to where my wife is or to stay where I am and separate for now to give us some space. I know I made a mistake agreeing to go along with my wife moving but now given the situation I don’t know what I should do next, move there and work on the marriage or stay here and be separated. I want to do what is righteous and will appreciate any insight. Thanks.