One possible explanation for your husband’s behavior is that he has never accepted the fact that you had a life before him. He may see your boys’ existence as a constant reminder that you were once with someone else. He hasn’t embraced his position as an important role model for your kids or as a partner in parenting with you. Instead, he seems to want only to control the kids and make them miserable. The result is that your boys are living in a terrorist environment where they suffer daily psychological abuse. It’s a wonder the kids haven’t turned into the “thugs” he imagines them to be. I certainly hope that the boys’ father offers them a counter-model of manhood and gives them the love and respect they deserve.
I’m sure there are people who disagree with me but I do believe that a mother’s first loyalty belongs with her children. Your kids deserve your protection as well as your love. I think you owe it to the boys to get them out of this situation. If it’s an option, you could agree to let them live with their father full time while they finish high school and arrange to visit them in public places or while on vacations. If that’s not possible, you have some difficult decisions to make. To save your kids, you may have to leave the man. Your love for your husband may be clouding your own good judgment. Trust your instincts. Your fears about the future are probably correct. Why would your boys ever want to subject themselves to more of this? Why would you want them to?
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 3, 2008.