My husband is the most selfish person I have met — lazy beyond belief. It’s been so bad between us over the years (28 in all) that at some stages I’ve just wished him dead. He never helps in the house and has always been selfish with the children.
Our daughter used to row with him all the time. She really hated him and always said he wasn’t coming to her wedding, although in the end he gave her away.
Our son still lives at home and he can be really foul sometimes, but all because of the dad he hates. He’s looking to leave home and I worry I will never see him again. I love my kids more than anything.
In 2011, our daughter discovered her father had been chatting to women online.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
When he fancies he is past love
It is then he meets his last love
And he loves her as he’s
never loved before
From the song A Bachelor Gay (source unknown)
We had a blazing row, but he said it didn’t mean anything and he wouldn’t do it again.
A year later, he left his Facebook page open and I found a message implying he was meeting someone, though he’d told me he was going fishing. Following this, I discovered he had signed up to free dating websites where he has stated that he is single.
I have put up with so much from that man and have never deserved this treatment. I couldn’t believe that he was doing it again.
We still have sex, try to make time to do things together, and I’m very torn, because a small part of me still loves him — though he has never made me feel special, never done anything romantic, never made a meal without moaning.
Aggression is the only thing he shows. He can become so nasty (never physical) and never takes responsibility, never admits he’s wrong.
He laughs when I mention counselling. I think I am resigned to the fact that my marriage is over and I am trying to see if I could buy him out of our house.
Christina is torn because a small part of her still loves her selfish, lazy husband
If not, I will have to move. At least I have two great kids and (I hope) grandchildren one day. He probably won’t keep in touch with any of them.
It sounds horrid, but I hope he’s a lonely old man; it’s only what he deserves.
My daughter says I should just get shot of him, but why should I make it easy for him with a quick divorce? What’s the best way to get advice?
More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail…
Just lately, I’ve had many letters from women whose unhappiness leaps off the page (I always print up emails to read) but whose willingness to go on accepting that condition truly confounds me.
I had to cut your email by more than three-quarters, but I can assure readers that the appalling detail made me wonder why you didn’t walk out years ago.
To this outsider, it sounds as if you are married to an unpleasant slob who is just waiting for a chance to cheat on you, if he hasn’t already.
He treats you with no consideration whatsoever, and you say you can’t talk to him if you feel unhappy. So what is he for?
I have here another email, from ‘S’, who also wants to leave her unfaithful, controlling husband but says she can’t afford to. She asks me: ‘How on earth am I going to live the rest of my life tied to someone who has hurt me so much and whom I can never trust?’
Now I know how very hard it is to extricate yourself from a marriage — but my answer to S’s question is this: ‘Don’t accept being a victim!’
If both of you ask how to leave, I’ll say: ‘By being determined, dignified and brave!’ That has to be the first step — whoever you are.
A good friend of mine actually saved small sums of money for many years and then secretly borrowed from her parents in order to leave her philandering bully of a husband. It can be done.
She chose to move into a cramped home with her two children rather than continue a living death in the lovely farmhouse that hadn’t been a home for ages.
Financial matters are inextricably linked to any decision to separate, but this can’t be the only issue if you weigh misery and a sense of hopelessness in the balance.
National Family Mediation would be a good place to start: it’s the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales, with an excellent track record. Look at the website (nfm.org.uk) to find out about the whole process.
You will find watching the organisation’s excellent videos very instructive and the whole site is packed with information which should help you find a way forward — because we all need mental clarification when feeling stuck.
NFM delivers family mediation in more than 500 locations across England and Wales — about 16,000 mediations per year. To find your nearest local service, call 0300 4000 636 or use the website.
You say you still love your husband (sort of), yet express vengeful contempt for him, too.
I don’t consider your question ‘Why should I make it easy for him?’ very helpful, since surely the aim is not to punish him but to separate with no disadvantage to yourself?
Consult NFM, be clear-headed, refuse to be intimidated and move forward, with the help of good advice. Never forget you have only one life.
Should I give up on my stepchildren?
I met my current husband at work. Though we were both married, we had an affair.
Eventually, I left my previous husband (we had no children) and James left his wife and two adult children. We’ve been together for 18 years and married for five. I’m in my 50s.
My problem is his first wife, Anne, and her influence over their children.
I’m wary of sounding like a moaning ex-mistress and I acknowledge what we did was wrong. But family occasions are split because James and I are still treated as outsiders. Preference is always given to Anne and her partner, Ted.
James’s children ignore and isolate him. Yet when they need money (which we’ve given jointly to the tune of £100,000 each), they are very quick to call. We work hard, long hours and travel with well-paid jobs.
Anne retired 12 years ago, owns several properties here and abroad and (I’m sure) encourages her children and grandchildren to ask James for money.
I’ve tried building bridges — even taking out a mortgage (in my name) so James’s daughter can buy a house. We’ve funded luxury holidays and weddings, but to no avail.
Anne openly ignores me, and I have more contact with our postman than with James’s children.
We have always invited them out to dinner, taken them to concerts and treated them to Premier League season tickets.
But I’m at the point where I just want to give up trying — no more extra tutoring for the grandchildren (I received no thanks), no more babysitting, or money.
Because I feel used. Even as I write that sentence it makes me feel so sad. I understand what we did was wrong, but will we pay for it for the rest of our lives?
And if that’s the case, should we just say to hell with the lot of them?
We are a society of ‘melded’ families (fine when/if the merger goes well), but we human beings haven’t lost our animal origins.
The lion cub is wary of the lion who isn’t his dad, and Darwinian theory explains that the ‘wicked stepmother’ from fairy tales has roots in experience.
A woman who marries a widower can find it hard to get his adult children to accept her. How much harder, then, for the woman who has been (in effect) half a demolition squad, wrecking a marriage? A friend once told me: ‘They make me feel like the wicked witch — still, after 20 years.’
I find it impressive that you twice make the point: ‘What we did was wrong.’ Right and wrong are terms many people will reject when it comes to the human heart, but your love affair caused great unhappiness. Should you still be punished? No.
In my experience, a marriage usually becomes broken for more reasons than just the obvious affair. Of course, few wronged wives will admit this — in fact, they get mad as hell when I make the point. But beneath the surface of every marriage swirl hidden currents and whirlpools. Who can know what’s going on?
Of course, older children won’t understand that immediately. Unless they’re relieved at the cessation of hostilities, they can feel acute misery because family life as they knew it has ended.
But, in time, adults should be able to come to terms with change; I don’t care how much we’re encouraged to indulge the pesky, needy, self-indulgent ‘child within’, sooner or later we all have to step up, stand up and face up.
In this case, his ex-wife behaved irresponsibly when she chose to turn her children against their father. No matter how aggrieved she felt, they only have one Dad and needed encouragement to forgive him, building a new relationship.
Don’t tell me it’s difficult, because I know. But it can and must be done. Anyway, Anne has a new partner. Why can’t she be happy and let the anger go? Why do punishment and bitterness have to go on and on?
I see no justification for adults to ‘use’ their father (let alone their stepmother) to extract cash, without obeying basic courtesies. Not to be polite, not to say thank you and be pleasantly sociable — all are unacceptable.
It seems to me that you have every right to feel ‘used’ and sad. On the other hand, you do not have the ‘right’ to encourage your husband to cut off contact with his family. Yes, ‘do your own thing’ but you mustn’t say ‘to hell with them’.
My solution would be to stop all extra money and treats and limit spending to Christmas and birthdays. You don’t have to make a big thing about this, nor explain why. If your husband is asked for money, he can just shrug philosophically and say he’s had a few setbacks so no deal, sorry.
Frankly, if adult children want financial help, they should earn it by being nice!
Come to think of it — all of us ‘earn’ attention and affection by showing ourselves worthy of it, and giving it back in good measure.
Love is not only about stupid Cupid
I was in Wootton-by-Woodstock, Oxfordshire, last night; next Wednesday I’ll be in Bitton, near Bristol; and coming up are festivals in Keswick and Bath.
I enjoy talking to lovely audiences about my book, Bel Mooney’s Lifelines, because I find answering questions about this column so interesting.
It involves giving some examples (anonymous) of things people do to each other in the name of love — which are not always pretty. Of course not. Then there would be no problems.
The book’s subtitle is Words To Help You Through — and I hope I make these literary events justify the optimism.
Though I talk about the many faces of love and the hurt it causes, I try to leave people feeling uplifted with wonderful quotations and positive thoughts.
TROUBLED? WRITE TO BEL
Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to: Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or e-mail email@example.com.
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters, but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
There are always new possibilities in life, no matter how down-hearted you feel. But it usually means you have to accept change. No one can be helped unless they want to change.
Love changes all the time and has many different forms. It can prompt the finest acts — and base ones, too.
There are so many different types of love: I love my husband, children, grandchildren, parents, good friends. I also love trees I see from my window, treasured possessions, my country.
And these emotions alter all the time, depending on factors such as mood and the process of ageing. When others change, you have to temper your own feelings, too, or be driven mad.
Within one relationship you can experience many shifts, from the first heady romance and the fun of settling down, to the disappointments and delights of domesticity, to quarrels and disillusion and working hard to stay together, through to contentment, friendship, mutual caring and loss.
Far more important than passion is the pasta that love dishes up at a family table.
But tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Sorry, stupid Cupid, I almost forgot.
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