I have been married to a controlling man for five years. We have two beautiful children. He doesn’t want me wearing certain clothes, won’t let me go out to the club with my family and doesn’t want me to go to college. I finally got him to “let me” go to the gym.
Things have gotten abusive since the nine years we’ve been together, and it was him physically attacking me. Lately, we have lost chemistry. We don’t even walk side by side. We both do our separate thing on our phones and we really don’t spend much time together.
So, I play a certain game on my phone that also has open chat and here comes Prince Charming. We have lots in common. He’s 13 years older than me, has much more life experience and he’s easy on the eyes. He lives 1,000 miles away but plans to come visit one day. He feels there is a bond between us.
I may be having an emotional affair with this guy and I know it’s wrong. I keep trying to forget about him but I can’t. I finally got my hubby to agree to me going back to school after a couple of arguments, and I do plan on leaving him once I finish.
He doesn’t know that yet, but my family is making me feel bad by wanting to divorce him because he is a good provider. I am a stay at home mom. Should I leave this other man alone or continue to talk to him as a “friend”?
Brittany, the science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle said, “In any ethical situation, the thing you want least to do is probably the right action.”
Your letter starts on the ethical high ground. My husband is abusive, controlling and jealous. Then it descends to the low ground. I get to take a new lover, I get to plot behind my husband’s back, I get to use my husband until I am ready to leave.
The right response to someone jealous or abusive or controlling is, stop this or it’s over. Or if the marriage is merely unhappy, the right response is, if we can’t get this train back on the rails, in a year or two I will file for divorce.
But that’s not what you are saying. You are saying things are so much under your control you can execute plans for the future at your leisure. You can’t defend yourself from doing wrong by listing what someone else did wrong. That’s a child’s argument. “Billy started it.”
We can’t tell if your husband is jealous because he is jealous, or if his jealousy is simply an observation. “I know you don’t have the scruples I do.” If it wasn’t in your nature to consider cheating, the last thing you would want to do would be to prove him right.
If he is “physically abusive,” why would you put your kids and yourself in jeopardy? If that’s a fact, why aren’t you alarmed and why do you still call him “my hubby.”
Be honest with yourself. Who drove this relationship to marriage? We ask because the one who drives a marriage to occur is often the one who will drive it to divorce. That party can so easily disconnect because it is a matter of what they wanted then and what they want now.
You paint your husband with an ugly brush, but you don’t claim he would cheat. We suppose you think you are the aggrieved party here, but aggrieved parties don’t get to respond by committing fraud and adultery.
It’s time to face the ethical question. Why do you let him continue to think he is in a marriage while you secretly plan your divorce?
As Jerry Pournelle might have said, why are you doing the wrong thing? Because it is easy.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of January 23, 2017
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Wayne & Tamara answer as many letters as they possibly can.