- 2 weeks ago
I’m a long-time bee so some of you might recognize my story, but I’m going anonymous so this doesn’t link to my past profile. I could really use some help from this wonderful community.
I have been with my husband for a little over 6 years, and we got married 2.5 years ago. My stepson (S1) was an infant when we met and my husband and his ex-wife were going through a divorce. I was widowed a little over a year before meeting him, and in a pretty bad place emotionally. SS is now 7 and I have raised him since the beginning as my own and love him as my own, although I also respect his mother and would never try to usurp her place. In fact, I really like his mother and we get along well… I’d be friends with her, honestly, if my husband would allow it (he won’t). Anyway, my husband and I also share a biologoical son who is 5 (S2), who I also love more than I could ever put into words. These boys are my world. We have a 50% custody arrangmenet with S1 and he and S2 love each other and best buddies.
The problem is that my husband treats me like crap. He’s one of those people that can only focus on one thing, and does that thing to extremes. When we first met, it was me and he swept me out of my depression and won me over. Over time, however, he has changed so much. He drinks excessively every single day, but refuses to admit he’s an alcoholic. And he mostly ignores me and the kids while preferring to spend time alone on his hobbies or staring at his phone. If I ever ask him to do anything or to care about somerthing that matters to me, he gets mad and gaslights me. I often do things wiht the kids, or my family and friends, without him because he doesn’t like doing social things. He rarely hugs, kisses, or cuddles me — and on the rare occasions when he shows affection, it’s to get me to have sex and then he goes right back to ignoring me (and even that has become a pretty infrequent thing, honestly). The other night, I was feeling stressed and overwhlemed about work, but when I tried to talk to him about it in bed he just got mad and rolled over away from me and went to bed…pretty typical. We argue a lot, and while I used to try to resolve things, I’ve started to just walk away and sleep separately from him with the kids because he’s impossible to communicate with (he is defensive and esclates and it’s just pointless). I’ve asked him to go to counseling but he’s flat-out refused, and when I’ve tried to call him out on his behavior and why it’s hurting me, but he just turns it all back on me and suggests that I’m the one who’s overly sensitive, crazy, or not giving him what he needs. I am so sad inside and miserable, and also worried about what the kids are learning from him about how to treat a woman.
I’m at the point where I’m (privately) considering divorce, but I’m terrified. We bought a larger home just over a year ago that I can’t afford on my own, and frankly we would take a financial hit if we tried to sell it now. But more importantly, the thought of having to split custody with my husband is a nightmare. I’m the only one that pays any attention to the details of their school stuff, activities, etc., and if I’m gone for a rare evening out, I can’t even trust that he’ll put them to bed on time or make sure they’ve eaten dinner or brushed their teeth. And the thought of having any days where I don’t see my boys just kills me … they are the only thing that bring me joy these days. This is a particularly scary prospect with S1, because as his stepmom, I would have no legal right to any custody of him. Which means if I leave, I not only lose half my time with S2, but ALL my time with S1 (and sacrifice the time I get to have with the two of them together bonding as brothers, which is so precious to me). This is frankly the reason I’ve stayed in this toxic relationship for as long as I have…..I just can’t see a solution that doesn’t seem worse. At least this way, I get to be with my kids every day and can look out for them and enjoy their company, even if it means being made to feel horrible by my husband. I was so in love with my late husband and so happy in that relationship, though, so it’s hard to process my grief over that loss and come to terms with the relationship I’m in now. I just miss that emotional and physical connection so much. And frankly, I’m terrified that if we get divorced, it’s going to screw up the boys and make their lives harder and I’d do anything to avoid that.
This has rambled on longer than I intended, but I’m hoping someone has some advice for me that might help. I’m parctilcarly interested in hearing from anyone who has gone through with a divorce when there were stepchildren involved. Thanks for listening.