How Often Should She Forgive Him?
Q: I'm ready to split from my husband, but I have a friend who keeps telling me we should stay together. My husband yells at me and sometimes hits things, and I'm tired of worrying about which guy I'm going to have to deal with. I don't know if it'll be the nice one or the crazy one. I'm so over this! We tried counseling and it only helps for a few months. Then he goes back to being nasty. I'm tired of always having to forgive him. My friend says marriage means you stick it out through good and bad. I think I need to get out of this crummy relationship because I gave him lots of chances to change and he still goes off when he doesn't get his way. Am I being too harsh? -- Cassidy, 38
Dr. Susan: You've done everything right, and I say you need to trust your gut, not your friend, on this decision. You say you've tried counseling, you say you're being emotionally abused over and over, you say you keep forgiving him for his terrible behavior but it keeps happening. This is not a marriage filled with love and kindness. Often, abusers turn physical, and you say he's already bullied you by hitting things. All of these are strong warnings that things will only get worse.
Sticking with a marriage through good and bad is fine, in theory. But in reality, in YOUR reality, your husband is not the man you thought you married. Go, but get some support during the transition, as he may become his most violent yet. Or he'll weep for you to give him another chance, which is only another manipulation.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.