I’ve always said that I’m a family man. I’m a husband and father above all else. I’ve defined myself by those roles. I pride myself on being a man of integrity and honor and I would do anything on Earth to protect my family in any way. I came from a great family and my mom and dad are still together after 41 years. My grandparents on my mom’s side are still together after 63 years. I’ve learned a lot from them about what it means to keep a marriage going.
A friend of mine sent me a link to your book (The Dead Bedroom Fix) and he said that he thought I might like it. After reading it I realize that I’ve been the Provider guy and so was my friend. I knew he was going through some changes, but I just joked with him about having a mid-life crisis. He told me that his life has never been better and he’s banging his wife like they did back when they started dating. That sounded great to me, so I read the book. Now I just feel worse, to be honest.
I’ve read your articles on the site, and I would say that my wife is what you like to call a “broken” woman. She does not come from a good family. The exact opposite. She has had really bad luck with men. She had a kid when we met. I’ve raised our daughter as my own since she was one year old. Now that we’ve had a kid of our own, all the bad stuff is starting to come out. I realize now that she’s been abusive and she really has a lot of problems. Our lack of sex is really just the beginning. I won’t tell you all the details, but it’s bad. I told my friend about all I’ve been through over the past two years, and he told me to talk to an attorney and get custody of the kids. He thinks I’ll probably get them.
Which brings me to my problem. I don’t just give up. These days everyone just walks away from marriage like it’s no big deal. I’m not like that. We had an AMAZING marriage before our kid was born. She was a fantastic woman. I don’t know if it’s post-partum depression that made her change or if it’s, like you say, just a matter of her being a “broken” woman and having the kid brought it out of her. I really don’t know what to do. It’s gotten so bad that I worry about the safety of my kids. I’m getting physical problems from the stress.
What would you do in this case?
I'll keep this simple:
The only hope you have of "fixing" this is if your wife admits to having an issue AND agrees to actively get help with it. From my experience talking to readers, this is about as rare of a Sasquatch sighting.
If you genuinely feel the kids are in danger, then get help NOW. Not later. Get the kids out of the house. Enlist friends or family to watch them. This is not time to be Mr. Agreeable Guy. It's Mr. Asshole Guy time. You don't want the kids to get hurt, or worse, and live your life in regret for not doing something about it.
Next step: Go to an attorney to figure out where you stand, financially and otherwise, in the case of a divorce. Write up a divorce agreement that is fair to all.
Step three: Take a friend or family member with you with you and confront the wife and tell her she has issues and she needs help. Tell her without help you and the kids do not remain in the home. If she's like most in her position, she won't take that well. Present the divorce agreement. Tell her to look it over, get an attorney if she wants, but that you and the kids will be out of the home until she gets help. You love her and believe in her and hope she does the right thing... but you can't live like this. It's not good for you or for the kids.
Have the friend/family member recording the encounter. From the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave.
Now the ball is in your wife's court. She REALLY has to sell you on the concept of "actively getting help". This sounds serious, so this may be inpatient facility kind of help. This is like back when we were kids and somebody's mom went to the "nervous hospital" for a while and suddenly returned a new woman.
You have your work cut out for you. If you're like most, you'll lose patience and gain a sense of self-worth that you don't have when with an abusive spouse.
Good luck to you, my friend. Please take care of yourself and take care of those kids. They need you.