My life has been hell for too long.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My life for the past 3 years has been hell. I was married. My father was killed in a car accident. My husband was an alcoholic so I got a divorce. I met and married someone else. Now this marriage isn’t looking so good. I work 3 jobs and in the past 2 years my husband has had 2 jobs and both have only lasted a month or less. We’ve been married for almost a year, but haven’t even been together for 4 months during this time. He was supposed to be deployed to Iraq but got hurt before he left and was hung up at medical military bases and such. He’s now due to go back to Iraq in 2 weeks.

I just bought a house…my money, my credit, but his name is on the deed because of the law here. He doesn’t do anything around the house. He didn’t even help move because “it’s not his stuff” but that doesn’t stop him from using it. My Mom HATES him because she can see that he’s not doing anything. My brother doesn’t like him because of the stress it’s putting on me. My husband HATES my family. He thinks that my brother is going to steal his stuff while he’s in Iraq and wants to lock them up for safe keeping. We all live together in my house.

My husband sits around and plays video games while I’m out working. He hounds me to have sex until I finally give in. I hate having sex with him. It’s so painful to me and I just feel so used that I often cry or try to go to my ‘happy place’ until it’s over. He doesn’t seem to care. I told him that I wasn’t going to have sex anymore and he said that he’d go have an affair but then later said that he wouldn’t do it. I called my husband one day to tell him some really bad news and his response was “I can’t deal with this right now, I’m ready to quit my job.” (The job that he hadn’t even had 2 weeks yet).

My husband has two kids with two different women that he doesn’t take care of. One lives with my husband’s Mom and the other with the child’s biological mother. I want to have a family, but he doesn’t seem to have that same goal. He says he wants them when the time is right and he ‘won’t screw up their lives.’

I care about him and don’t want to hurt him, but I don’t know what to do. Before we got married, he had to promise that he would grow up and do what he had to do. (I had doubts before I got married.)It hasn’t happened. Now that he’s going to Iraq, he’s promising the same thing when he gets back.

I feel smothered and lost. I don’t know what to do. I feel like a failure because this is my second marriage and it’s not going great and I’m only 26. I feel that it is my job to make everyone happy and not hurt anyone. I am ready to give up. I don’t want to get out of bed if no one is around. I don’t want to go home from work if people are here. I’m tired of constant conflict. I really really need help. I just want to be by myself and not ever be around anyone again. Is my husband mean and lazy or am I oversensitive? Please help me before I break.

A: The kindest interpretation I can make of your husband’s behavior is that he is terrified of going to Iraq. It appears that he has put his life on hold, has made himself stop caring about others, and has shut himself down emotionally. He has been in limbo for quite awhile. He certainly hasn’t been able to make long-term plans. So maybe he’s been afraid to commit to a job or to you or his children or even to himself. It may seem to him that it will be easier to leave if he can convince himself that he just doesn’t care.

On the other hand, you also tell me he doesn’t support his children, abuses you sexually, and that you had doubts about this marriage from the beginning – in which case maybe you made a very wrong choice for many wrong reasons. Maybe you thought that having someone to love would help you with your grief over your father’s death or your regrets over your first marriage. Maybe there is something going on with you that you feel you have to make everyone happy, even at the sacrifice of your own health and happiness.

If your husband is headed for Iraq in the next week, it’s too late to make significant changes in your marriage before he goes. Wish him well. But please take the time while he is away to find a counselor, preferably someone who is familiar with military families, to help you sort things out. Regardless of what you do with your marriage, you have some important personal work to do to get out of your depression, to make good decisions and to get on with your life.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Mar 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). My life has been hell for too long.. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/03/26/my-life-has-been-hell-for-too-long/