Husband Gave Mixed Messages
Q: I am suffering from chronic and worsening health issues. Because of lack of support and emotional abuse from my husband, I had to leave him. During the eight years that we were together, he was constantly telling me he loved me, but treated me as though I was totally insignificant to him, not even talking to me when we were in the house together. He has been addicted to pornography since long before I came along. He constantly called me a slut and whore. I tried over and over to talk to him, but he refused to acknowledge that there was a problem. He just shut me out and told me that he doesn't owe me anything. His actions showed me he truly hated me. I have been gone for two months now and not once has he tried to contact me. It is as though he's saying "good riddance." I took our vows seriously, and I feel extremely hurt to know that he did not. Where is the love in all of this? -- Emily, 58
Dr. Susan: I see no love at all, certainly not his for you. In my view, enjoying pornography by itself doesn't kill a marriage. Calling you nasty names and never caring about your needs is a relationship-killer. I understand that you're very hurt and that you hoped he would reach out to get you back. But he didn't reach out. Perhaps, in time, you'll come to understand that you did the best you could and that he wasn't truly committed to the hard work of building a relationship. When one partner won't talk to the other or even acknowledge that a problem MIGHT exist, that spells doom. You need to put your health first. And I suggest getting some help dealing with all these changes and stress. Wishing your husband were different, more compassionate, isn't going to get you anywhere.
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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.