“My Husband Isn’t Fighting For Me”

I just read your response to the woman being upset about not being invited to her sister-in-law’s party. I’m in a similar situation. My husband and I recently separated — nearly divorced — and are currently back together trying to rebuild our marriage. He was invited to his best friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday and was told that he and our son were welcome but I was not because they have not forgiven ME for almost divorcing my husband. I have never before treated this couple with any disrespect. The wife, however, dislikes me because my husband broke up with her sister and began dating me. She has never accepted me no matter how sweet I have been.

I left my husband because I felt we were at a dead-end and he was never home. He’d rather be outside working on stuff. I am a full-time nursing student who also does all the housework and the care of our 3-year-old son. My husband has done a great job providing but has not helped me much with our child. The second time he mentioned divorce I took it seriously and got to the last step. I really wanted him to try and stop me, but he didn’t. So I came back to work on mending us. I told him I’d rather have our worst day than no day at all.

I moved out for two months, and he dated a woman in the meantime. It’s been a struggle to stop him from keeping the connection to the girl. I partly feel like it’s my fault for leaving, but I had so much stress I was having seizures and had a heart attack. I’m 29. That’s not good and I know it. My husband does not cuss or hit me. He’s just good at making me feel bad. — Not Invited

Obviously, this is a much bigger issue than not being invited to your husband’s friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday party, but I’ll address that part anyway: lucky you. No, seriously: you’ve been told you aren’t welcome at the party, and you know what that means? You just scored yourself a free afternoon (or morning, if that’s when the party is). Let your husband — who, frankly, sounds like a deadbeat dad — take your son to the party and you can have two or three hours to do whatever you want.

I know your feelings are probably hurt that your husband’s best friend’s wife doesn’t like you, but, really, so what? That’s her problem. Her not liking you just scored you a free afternoon, and, as a mother of toddler who does all the housework and goes to school full-time and gets little to zero help from her inattentive husband, you can use a a little downtime, so enjoy it.

As for the real issue at hand — your husband and his lazy ass bones and the connection he made to some girl when you were trying to get him to fight for you: I say leave the jerk for good. If the best thing you can say about him is he doesn’t cuss or hit you, and the worst thing you can say is that his behavior is contributing to you having seizures and a fucking heart attack (at 29!) because he’s never home and he doesn’t help with housework and he doesn’t help raise your child and, when you dared to leave him for two months so he’d finally wake up to the seriousness of your problems, he used the time to pursue another woman: LEAVE THE FUCKER FOR GOOD.

Seriously, why are you with him? It’s not going to get better — especially after you told him you’d rather have a worst day with him than no day at all. Guess what? Mr. Lazy Bones with the wandering eye is going to take that as a sign to keep being as lazy and inattentive and unfaithful as he has been because you’d rather have that than nothing. But WHY? Get some self-respect and want better for yourself. Want better for your son.

If all your husband does is provide some financial support and everything else is your responsibility, sue him for child support and alimony and then MOA. You don’t need his bullshit. You and your son will both be happier — and much healthier — when you are no longer in a marriage where the stress is giving you seizures and heart attacks. I mean, really: Aim higher.


Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Oh, LW, my heart is breaking for you a little bit. I hope Wendy’s response was just the dose of tough love you needed. Please, if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your son. Use the few alone hours you’ll have while they’re at the party to go see a divorce attorney.

  2. I just want to say YES to the healthier part!!! My mom’s second marriage lasted three years and she was so sick the WHOLE time with all kinds of lung problems. Breathing problems. Coughing and coughing and coughing until she puked, or choked, or other icky stuff. Countless trips to the hospital and the doctor and all sorts of testing. Medical leave from work. Pumped on on medications and steroids. It was horrible to see my mother so sick for so many years, doing everything she could to just survive without ever really discovering the cause of her illness.

    She finally asked for a divorce (for other reasons obviously) and kicked her husband out and magically…. within 2 months of him leaving… the coughing disappeared. I said mom, did you notice that you haven’t been coughing anymore? That you’re sleeping through the night? She’s been healthy ever since he left.

    Just goes to show that our environment really does have an impact on our physical health (as well as mental). So the point of my story is that you absolutely can move on without your shitty husband and life can be really good. In fact, you’ll come to realize that NO time with him is so much better!

    1. possumgurl says:

      My boyfriend was in the throes of major paranoia and anxiety towards the end of his marriage. He wasn’t my boyfriend at the time, but we work together so I saw him unravel first hand. This generally together, smart, witty guy would start rambling about being followed, and was counting license plate numbers. It was absolutely bizarre and scary behavior. He said when his wife told him she wanted a divorce, his paranoia and anxiety disappeared within a week. We’ve been together a year and half, and recently I asked him how he keeps it in check and he replied “I haven’t had an anxiety attack since she left.”.

      LW- listen to your body; your body is telling you to MTFOA (move ta fug on already!). Do it. Life is too short.

  3. lets_be_honest says:

    Consider these things a blessing in disguise. You no longer have to hang out with people who are shitty to you. That’s great! Yay! I’m experiencing this too right now and its really a lovely spin on things.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that LBH, hope its getting better. Hugs

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Aw, thanks so much, gigi. Probably would’ve made for a juicy letter to DW, but didn’t really need advice. haha.

      2. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

        oh no! what happened.. with the dude?

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        No, just a bad falling out with my dad and his wife.

  4. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

    If someone makes you feel bad and you feel like it’s a fight and struggle EVERYDAY for them to notice you, meet your needs and feel like they give a f*ck: you’re better off on your own. It hurts, I’m not going to lie. It’s a death and you will cry etc, but you will find so much strength in yourself that you never knew was possible. You will be surprised at the generosity of others and the support you receive from strangers. You know why? because a lot more people than you think have been in this or a very similar situation.

    You can get through this, I promise

  5. “they have not forgiven ME for almost divorcing my husband. Because it was hard on him.”

    Right…it was so hard because he had to do his own effin’ housework for once? So hard on him that he started dating? Sheesh. Run, run for the hills and don’t look back.

    1. RIGHT? All of these people suck.
      LW – read what you wrote us. You were nearly out of a horrible marriage. You went back to give him another chance, even though he was seeing someone else. After you went back, he was still contacting that someone else. He doesn’t help you with your son. He doesn’t help you.
      Please think of your son and the kind of person he’ll turn out to be if this man is his role model. Do as Wendy said, get some self respect and aim a hell of a lot higher. With or without a man. I say without for a long while.

      1. Actually, I have a question. What’s better for a child…. because I honestly have no idea….

        Staying in a bad marriage with a disinterested parent (whether it’s the man or women), or getting out of the bad marriage and the interested parent have custody? Like, I know there are a million factors that go into this. But I come from a home with two parents who love each other and love their kids. Fights consisted of my mom being annoyed with my dad for not putting stuff where it belongs. So, I have no idea if it’s better to suck up a marriage and stick it out in a situation like this?????

      2. I think the best thing for a kid is to have two parents who are happy. It doesn’t matter if they are together or not. If the parents are together, but fight all the time and are disinterested in each other, kids feel that and it affects them negatively. If the parents split up but fight over money or child support or visitation or whatever… that affects them negatively too. But if both parents are living happy and positive lives, and if both parents get along and respect each other, whether they are together or divorced doesn’t matter. Kids are resilient. They’ll get over a divorce (I did). But it’s much harder to deal with ongoing negativity.

      3. resullins says:

        Coming from the child of divorced parents, it is absolutely better for parents that live like this to get divorced. A child that grows up around fighting, bickering, disrespect, and inattentiveness will learn that these things are normal in a relationship, and will treat his partner like that. I can’t imagine my parents actually being together and living in that kind of misery every day.

      4. I figured as much. But I don’t have any experience with and feel weird about saying what I think is the better option because of that lack of experience.

      5. simonthegrey says:

        My parents’ marriage was not good sometimes – very not good. I wished sometimes they would separate. They didn’t. Things eventually got better. But it still felt like a bomb went off, and I can’t say I would have been less happy if they had separated. Clearly, two parents – or two parental figures, not minding gender or sex or relationship to one another – who can provide love and support for the child and one another might be ideal, but I think a child with parents who are loving and healthy, even separated, is better than growing up in the midst of a maelstrom.

      6. Painted_lady says:

        I will say, as a child of parents who never got divorced, the damage done there was no less than if they had divorced. The only difference is that they still make each other miserable, and it’s very hard to separate how I see them treat each other and how I feel about them as an adult.
        The idea that this is how the son will learn how to treat women is 100% accurate. My brother talks to my mom *exactly* how my dad does, and has since before high school, and his girlfriends get the exact same treatment. Because my dad is an asshole, he managed to skew their fights into how terrible my mom is to him after the fact, and my mom felt like that was an inappropriate way to talk about him to her kids (you think?), so my brother only ever got her side (he didn’t “share” with me the same way). My brother had an easier time dealing with the idea that mom just needed to quit causing trouble than actually examining the family dynamic and how fucked up it is, and so he told my mom that their fighting upset him and why couldn’t she just be easier to live with. My mom felt like not upsetting her youngest was more important than his seeing her stand up for herself, and so she quit “creating” conflict with my dad for years. And so he’s managed to pick up my dad’s nothing’s-my-fault mentality, because between my dad blaming her for their fights and my mom taking it upon herself never to fight, my brother got confirmation that people disagreeing with you is just them causing trouble.
        So yeah, I don’t know if we could have walked away from a divorce totally unscathed, but it definitely wouldn’t have been worse than what we got.

      7. My parents got divorced when I was about 18, they had a loving marriage and we had a happy home until about two years or so before the divorce, and even then they kept their fighting private from my sister and I so we weren’t really exposed to much tension. Their divorce was the best thing that could have happened, both my parents are so much happier now and they’ve both just really opened up and loosened up as people! I might feel differently if I’d had to do custody but my parents were very civil and remain so… as long as the parents can remain mature about things and love the hell out of their kids, I think if they’re ultimately happy, the kids will be happy.

      8. I had a friend growing up whose parents absolutely should have divorced. But they didn’t, because of religious reasons. And, their beliefs required they live as husband/wife, meaning under the same roof. So his dad lived on the second floor and his mom lived in the basement. And everyone in the home was miserable. It was a prime example about why it’s best to separate if you are truly unhappy.

  6. This letter reminds me of the situation a friend of mine found herself in. She had been taking major drugs of all kinds to try and conceive and had a horrible reaction to something and actually had a cardiac arrest in the ER. After she got out of the hospital, her husband wanted to know when she was going back on the drugs so she could give him children! (They divorced – of course! – and she’s remarried and has a beautiful son via surrogate.)

    LW, you don’t have to DIE or almost die for this man and this marriage. He checked out on you a long time ago and trying to get him to chase you totally didn’t work: you’re the only one interested in saving the marriage. It can’t be saved through the efforts on only one partner, so get a good attorney and make sure you receive what you need to take care of yourself and your son while you finish school.

  7. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Who told you that you weren’t welcome? Did they tell you to your face? Or did your charming husband pass along the message? Because if he passed it along, not only is he lazy and uninterested – he’s mean. Dump the rat bastard.

    1. Skyblossom says:

      Maybe his girlfriend will be there and it is always so much more convenient to spend time with your girlfriend if your wife isn’t along.

  8. Totally agree with Wendy – and man what a great fucking response! 🙂
    LW, you are young. Do you really want to spend the rest of your days in such a shitty situation? I think you could use some therapy to help guide you through this time – I mean, if we’re all saying “leave him!” DESPITE the fact you have a kid together, that speaks volumes. You deserve better.

  9. BeckyGrace says:

    I think there are some even bigger issues that weren’t addressed here. The LW seems to like to play games instead of communicating directly. And… so does the husband. Have they even tried counseling together to work through this? Also, was it your choice or a team decision to be a stay at home mom and full time student? Not that it is any excuse for him to not help with his son but what are your expectations of his involvement? Overall this sounds like an extremely immature relationship with a kid stuck in the middle. I feel bad for the child – both the adults need to grow up and either move on or commit to counseling.

    1. I have to say that counseling only works if both parties really have an interest in saving the marriage. I think the husband has shown loud and clear that he does not. And even if he did, the LW is having some very serious health issues and those have to come first. Counseling is great, but it is not appropriate in every situation. In this case, I don’t think it would do any good. She just needs to leave.

      1. Wholeheartedly agree with you here.

    2. Skyblossom says:

      I also thought that moving out to try to make him fight for her was immature and showed a serious lack of communication in their marriage. But, she is so stressed in this marriage that the stress is literally killing her and she has an obligation to her son to try to stay healthy and raise him. Because the stress is killing her I think she needs to move out immediately for her own good and because her son needs a healthy mother who can take care of him for the rest of his childhood. Then she can seek counseling for herself and work out what was wrong with her marriage and why she married him in the first place, what red flags she may have ignored and then, and only then, decide if she would like to work on the marriage and only if he is still available and willing. He sounds like the type who could quite easily replace one woman with another and keep right on going without changing himself. She can’t continue like this because she will be dead.

  10. This letter definitely made me feel really sad to read it. LW, I hope that you are able to figure out the best situation for you and your son, whether it is to move on or to stick around, or to give yourself (and your husband) a deadline and if things aren’t better at that point that you are finished. Either way, all I could think while I was reading the letter is that I wonder about the communication between you and your husband. It’s clear that you are quite stressed, and I wonder if the way you are with each other is a part of that. At the end of your letter you comment that your husband doesn’t cuss or hit you, but there are other types of abuse (verbal, emotional) that are just as bad.

  11. I feel really badly for the LW too.

    LW, I am 2 years older than you are and the idea of having a heart attack at my age is unfathomable to me. I still feel like (an am!) a very young woman, and so are you! Way too young to be suffering such serious health problems from the stress of this situation. You CAN do it on your own – you are MUCH stronger than you realize – and he is SO not worth it. Not even for the promise of another, stronger, better, more loving relationship (which you will surely have eventually) but for yourself and your son, for peace and self-worth, please consider what Wendy is saying.

  12. LW – So if you stayed (for HIM) in the relationship, what makes you think you wouldn’t have another heart attack, or something else? What if you have another heart attack and, well, die? How is that good for you? How is that good for your son? (I’m sure it’d be great for your husband…just hustle the new gf in as a replacement, I guess.)

    Your son is definitely not benefitting from your decision to stay in your marriage. Your husband is demonstrating by his actions the blueprint for how a man should be in a relationship—which is a lazy, non-caring asshole! Your son is also seeing YOUR blueprint for how a woman should be in a relationship–a do-everything doormat! Do you really want your son to be imprinted with this pitiful dynamic?

    Leave this douchenozzle, get some counseling for your self-esteem and show your son a strong person—BOTH of you will benefit immensely. It won’t be easy and it may take some time, but the rewards will be great. Please DO NOT give up on you and your son.

  13. Bittergaymark says:

    Eh… Nobody healthy OR sane has a heart attack and seizures at 29 just because their spouse doesn’t help out enough around the house. Seriously.

    1. SixtyFour says:

      Come one now. That’s a straw man argument, BGM. She never said that she had a heart attack and the only reason was because her husband never helped out. She listed several reasons she was stressed. And being under lots of stress can definitely lead to scary health issues for someone who is already predisposed towards them.

    2. stickelet says:

      Wrong. As someone who has epilepsy, seizures can be brought on by anxiety, your environment, stress, not sleeping enough, health, etc. etc. etc. The majority of people who have epilepsy developed it under unknown circumstances and seizures can spontaneously occur. Take it from someone who has woken up in an ambulance after a seizure more than once, with no real clue as to what caused the seizure.

    3. Stress can do terrible things to the body. I was once under so much stress that I lost 10 lbs. in 11 days, my hair fell out and my gums bled. Once I eliminated the source of my stress, my symptoms mysteriously went away.

  14. Bittergaymark says:

    PS … The “other ” best thing you can about the “deadbeat” dad is that, oh… right… he pays for EVERYTHING… Which kinda sorta goes against the very definition of deadbeat… But whatever.

    1. He works full time, and she goes to school full time (for nursing, which is not an easy degree). So, yeah, if they’re both full-time right now and she’s doing all the housework and all the childcare on top of that, that’s a pretty shitty arrangement.

      1. Honestly, full time student is 12-18 credits so 12 to 18 hours. I know there are papers and other things but it isn’t the same as working full time.

      2. She’s in nursing school. From what people on DW and other friends I know have said it’s a little different than say going in for your bachelors degree. I think it’s also not necessarily for everyone. So she might have also found that nursing school itself was more stressful than she realized.

      3. Nursing school is like a bachelor’s degree on steroids.

  15. Bittergaymark says:

    And when YOU leave somebody? Lets NOT be surprised that they date somebody else. Hello! YOU fucking left…

  16. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

    LW, did you tell him that you wanted him to fight for you? It sounds like your communication about the divorce isn’t great. You left, he started seeing someone, you came back… Did you ever tell him the changes that needed to happen for the relationship to satisfy you? Talk to him and set ground rules. Let him know what is unacceptable and what has to change. If you can afford it, go to marriage counseling, and work on your communication. If none of that works, then at least you know you did everything you could.

    1. I agree with this to an extent. Sometimes we want someone to “fight for us” but the other person can’t read our mind and what we want. Also, when someone files for divorce or initiates a breakup, “fighting” their wishes can make you seem like a desperate ass. At the same time, I think all the LW wants her husband to do is give a shit, which is not too much to ask.

      1. Sorry, that reply was meant for the rom com logic comment

  17. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

    I have to post this, too. The phrase “fight for me” makes me think that the LW is expecting some sort of rom com conclusion to her issues. This is TERRIBLE logic. You cannot expect someone to read your mind. Real life is messy, and it takes hard work. If you want your marriage to survive you BOTH have to work hard and make changes. Don’t let fantasy logic keep you from saving your real marriage.

    1. I agree it seems like communication is not something they are good at. I think too the statement that their worst day was better than not having him is a little on the dramatic/romanticized side as well. Sometimes love isn’t enough, even if you don’t want to imagine life without that person.

  18. Hey LW, I agree with everyone else, and I want to express my utmost sympathy for the terrible choices you are facing. I want to take a moment to address the heart attack you had: were you tested afterwards for a blood clotting disorder? If you weren’t, you should consider it, because while the day-to-day of having a blood clotting disorder is easy to deal with (you just take a baby asprin if you are diagnosed and your hematologist recommends it), it would affect some types of decisions you have to make (i.e. birth control options, smoking, physical activity etc.). I’m from a family where many of us have a blood clotting disorder, and for us, having DVTs, mini-strokes, pulmonary embolisms or heart attacks started as young as 11 and often in our 20s.
    Regardless of whether there is an underlying health issue as well, I hope that you seek out the support of your friends and family to help you through this difficult time. There are people in your life who love and care for you, and their love and support will help you to remember what life can be like. All the best.

  19. Not a Princess says:

    “He’s just good at making me feel bad,” Reread this sentence to yourself until you get to a divorce attorney. Write it on your hand. Carry it around on a card. Read it while you’re getting out of your car, walking to the lawyer’s door, and sitting in the office. Why? Because this is why you need to get out now. Right now. Use the party as an opportunity. DO NOT go most of the way and then get sucked back in. Go. Run. Get a really good attorney, they are worth the price tag. If “He is good at making me feel bad” was going to be restated, it would sound like this, “He’s emotionally manipulative. He’s abusive in sneaky ways and I feel like no one would believe me if told them. He makes me feel bad. He makes me feel like a worse person than I am. He makes me feel like I don’t matter. He doesn’t just NOT VALUE ME, he actively tears me down.

    I don’t know you; I don’t need to know you to see your pain. I, and most of the people you will find on this site, care about people because we’re people. We want you to succeed. We want you to feel loved and valued or we wouldn’t bother reaching for our keyboards to post here. You are worth far more than you think and you deserve far better. Go chase it.

  20. I know this sounds really calculating (hell, it is really calculating), but LW if you’re in school full-time for nursing, perhaps wait to divorce until you’ve graduated and have a source of income for yourself and your son. My mom was in a similar situation when she and my dad divorced, and she did go to school full time and worked while raising us. She’s amazing. But, we were both in the upper elementary grades and were a lot more independent than a 3-year-old. I don’t know if she could have done it if we were that young. Even with us being older and able to help out/take care of a lot of things/watch ourselves when we needed to, it was still really, really difficult for her. And, we were pretty poor at the time. Single parenting is hard work. Single parenting while going to school full time, little/no income, and raising a toddler is even harder.

    I’m not saying you should stay with him, because I absolutely agree with everyone that you should divorce him. I am just saying consider what will enable you to be independent and support yourself and your son, and invest in that.

    1. On the other hand, since my mom did this quite a long time ago, perhaps there are now more supports for single mothers going to school full time? I don’t know if any readers are aware of resources that could help you? If there are resources that would enable you to continue going to school full time, then I change my advice to, “Divorce him ASAP.”

  21. If you stay, you’re teaching your son that his father’s treatment of you is acceptable behavior. Is that really what you want?

  22. It sounds like your husband is trying to get you to be the one to end the relationship. I think that he is trying to make you feel bad enough that you will walk away. I think that he wants you to end it so he can appear to be innocent and place the blame on you.
    As much as you want it to work and try to make it work, it can’t if you are the only person trying. If he wanted to make it work, he would be trying and his efforts would be obvious. The best you can do right now is to take care of yourself and your son.

  23. Breezy AM says:

    Lady, as one who has been there far too recently…. let me tell you, dump that dirtball.

    If someone told me even three lousy months ago that today I’d be deeply in love with someone who is NOT MR AM and being treated PROPERLY in a relationship and loved loved loved like someone is supposed to be loved, I would have thought they were insane. Completely insane. Because see Mr AM was just ya know, having some issues and needed to work some stuff out and then we were totes gonna be a family and I was gonna stand by my man and like I didn’t want mah babies to cry and stuff since we were divorced.

    Clearly I was on crack, or something. Everyone thinks they are the exception, but we really are not.

    Next time we have a deleted thread I’ll hit y’all up with the details because I absolutely cannot post them without said deletion… but if Wendy tried to make it work with Peter Pan but burnt out caring for the Lost Boys for too long, and then ran off with Captain Hook as it seemed the Sensible Thing to Do (at the time…), but then found out that Captain Hook was really a controlling dirtball who liked to play mind games… and one day decided she’d rather walk the plank than stay ONE MORE MINUTE with him…. she might have walked that plank with the gentle encouragement of Tinkerbell…

    and fallen into the arms of Captain Jack Sparrow. Who, she had no idea, had loved her for almost 15 years. And who had been nursing a very broken heart since the day she told him she would marry Captain Hook. And who now helps her be strong, because she can care for her damned self. He simply has her back.

    Life is beyond good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *