Since we moved, it has been the worst 90 days of my life. He has been a controlling jerk who has scrutinized my child and me endlessly. Upside: He says all of it to me and not directly to my son. Frank tells me that my son is not mindful enough, he doesn’t take five-minute showers, he doesn’t help, he never pushes the grocery cart, etc. Now, does he do typical things that every parent wishes their kid didn’t do? Yes. But I don’t know many kids who volunteer or immediately jump to do much. My son picks up after himself, puts away his dishes, helps set the table, wakes himself up and gets ready for school, makes his own breakfast/lunch etc. Basically, the kid is a respectful and typical teen. But it’s never enough. Plus, Frank told me he can only stand to be with my other child (who is away in college) for only few days at a time.
We’re always doing/saying something wrong and walking on eggshells. I don’t feel comfortable leaving my son as I generally get a “he did/didn’t do this/that,” but Frank’s kids aren’t perfect either. What family is? I pick up after them and remind them to do chores just like any regular family. I don’t let them fail just to point it out to Frank every time.
Frank also points out when he thinks I have failed him. It was chaos when I was left back home to pack up the house by myself and move, all while working full-time. Granted, Frank didn’t have too much stuff when he moved in, as we got rid of a lot from his place knowing we were leaving for Europe, but a couple of his things were accidentally left behind in storage and he flipped out and wouldn’t talk to me for two days. I profusely apologized in person and to him in an email (because he wouldn’t talk to me). He replied by saying that I was selfish, untrustworthy, and taking advantage of him—-andthat he saw glimpses of this in me before and has a long list, but doesn’t want to address specifics. Whoa!
Anyway, it’s been downhill. Now he’s on to my job. He initially said he would be supportive of my keeping my former job, which has me working U.S. hours and traveling a lot. I had asked for 4-6 months to see if it would work out and he said yes: “I’m supportive of what you want to do.” Now less than two months in, he has said: “Quit your job or we’re done.” There was no discussion, no transition plan – just “I’m so mad about your job and I’m over it.” Whoa, again!
To top it off, he doesn’t believe I do much around the house when I’m actually home. Wtf!!! I was a single, full-time working mom for years who had my kids about 70% of the time. Lazy is not in my DNA.
Overall, I am in shock over this turn of events. It has literally all happened since day two and for last few months. It’s been a punishing experience as nothing makes him happy. He’s like the victim in this, saying he does everything (he does a lot as I don’t speak the language, but he knew that), he’s the main provider (which he isn’t completely as I share expenses). I contribute and pull my weight where I can, but it doesn’t matter what I do or say — it’s just never right. I don’t text correctly, call enough, treat him right, snd on and on. It feels like emotional abuse.
I had asked for therapy and he said he’d go; then two days before our appointment and he told me to cancel therapy. Then he told to sleep on the sofa!
Now, I’m a work in progress and have my faults for sure, but not being able to communicate through an argument without his insulting me, shutting it down, throwing ultimatums and canceling therapy feels like I really have only one option – leave quickly!
Did his personality just change or maybe didn’t reveal itself before? I’m exactly the same person I was when I arrived! What’s going on? Is he just having family anxiety? Is there another path to success here? — Super stressed Cinderella in Europe
Don’t waste another second trying to figure out this manipulative, monstrous maniac. And don’t revert to what so many women do and try to save this marriage because divorce is a last resort (it’s actually a first resort when you’re dealing with a man like Frank) or you’re embarrassed for failing (at the marriage) so quickly. You were duped! You were lied to, taken advantage of, and used, and the very best thing you can do now is to get out as quickly as possible. Do not give up any more power than you already have. For the love of god, DO NOT quit your job. Your job is your lifeline (which is EXACTLY WHY frank wants you to quit because HE wants to be your sole lifeline to better manipulate and abuse you).
Don’t discuss this with Frank. This is beyond discussion. Don’t create a “transition plan” with Frank. Do not give him an inch, because he will take a mile. Get your ducks in a row, legally and financially – make sure you have a pile of cash that he doesn’t have access to, gather whatever belongings you want to keep, mail whatever won’t fit into two suitcases to someone back home whom you trust, buy plane tickets for you and your son, and get the fuck home. You can sort out all the other details – like divorce, obviously, when you are back on your home soil and safely away from the disaster formerly known as your relationship.
Once you’re home safe, get yourself into therapy. Don’t waste time and money diagnosing him or trying to figure out what happened to him. Work on yourself – consider whether there were signs you missed, whether dating manipulative men is a pattern for you, and how you can learn to trust again. I cannot overstate this enough: There is nothing here to save. There is literally nothing – absolutely nothing – you can do to turn this marriage around and find the happiness you want. You owe it to yourself and to your poor son to get the hell out of this situation as quickly as possible. The man you are married to is abusive and you should be afraid. Please get yourself and your son safely away from him immediately. And let us know when you do!