It seems to be that there is a stigma about opening up about an unhappy marriage. You might feel judged that you did not get the happy ever after promised in fairy tales. I strongly feel we need to get over this stigma and speak out as best we can. I also think society including friends and family need to be ready to listen to our truths and to help us where they can. So I am very appreciative of this brave post from my friend Leanne which at the very least I hope will make people think about unhappy marriage and how they can change the status quo.
Opening up about an unhappy marriage
“I very rarely talk about my past. If I am honest it is part of me I want to forget, but I am sharing for those who may be going through something similar. Perhaps we should all be brave enough to try opening up about an unhappy marriage so that others can help us.
When I was 20 I was a happy and confident young woman, I had a full time job working in a Building Society that I loved. I had a good social life both with friends and work colleagues. I started working in our local pub in the evenings and loved it.This is where I met and becme friends with one of the other bar staff. He was funny and we soon started becoming closer.
My 21st birthday fell on a Saturday, and I had a party where he came along, and we started dating. I had previous boyfriends but this felt special right from the start. In time we got engaged and started saving for our own place to live whilst preparing for our wedding. I loved married life, and as he worked shifts, when he was on nights I would meet up with friends.
Over the years I began to change, and never realised he was the one changing me. Looking back now I can see how he was mentally abusing me and that I was trapped in an unhappy marriage. He used every trick in the book. Slowly I turned from a confident woman into a shell of myself as he knocked every bit of confidence from me. I was no longer me. He used to tell me I would never leave him as no one would ever want me. He would say “Just look at you!” and all the other lines he came out with. I believed him.
A man started phoning our house. He told me it was someone from work and he was helping him decorate at his home. Looking back I should have seen through it as he never lifted a finger to do anything at home. I did everything, including the decorating. Then he had a breakdown, and ended up sectioning himself or he would have been sectioned. Now I am not callous or hard faced but he was a good actor. I swear if I said I had stomach ache in my little toe he would have it in all his toes. He had got into lots of debt. So while he lost his job and hid away I had to pay the mortgage, bills, clear his debts and hold down a full time job and any overtime I could get. He would come home on a Friday and go back on a Sunday expecting me to give him £50 each week to go to the pub. I had been living on toast most of the week unable to afford to eat. He would get so angry and play the woe is me card as he had been stuck in hospital all week.
This all took its toll on me and one morning I collapsed. I ended up seeing the Dr and I poured my heart out. He wanted to put me on anti-depressants. I did not want to go on them but he promised me they were not addictive but to help me. I finally agreed and they did help for the time I was on them.
My husband left hospital and sat around at home seeing me work all the hours I could, pay the bills, do the shopping, washing and housework. Finally something snapped and I lost it and he did eventually get a job. This man started ringing again. Eventually I found out he was sleeping with this man even in our bed while I was at work, not even changing the sheets. It also became clear he was cross-dressing and spending hundreds of pounds on clothing.
This was when I started going on chat rooms while he was out chatting to people from all over the world, having a laugh and escaping my life. One Sunday morning at a time I was never online, in a chat room I had never been on before, I started chatting to a man. I was totallly honest in that I was married, and I was not even looking to meet anyone. The man said he had just come through a divorce so was not looking either. We eventually met up and 20 years later we are still together happily married. He is my rock and has slowly made me realise who I am leading me to gain my self-confidence again. It has been a rough ride as we have been through so much heartache. We have lost 8 babies. We are now lucky to have our daughter.
Being in a mentally abusive relationship and/or unhappy marriage is never anything to feel ashamed about. I never realised how bad my relationship was until I was out of it. You can move on and can meet someone who does see you for who you are, who makes you their world and will help you become you again.”
Organisations that can help you
There are many organisations that can help you by listening, by helping you recognise signs of abuse and by helping you to move on when you are ready to do so. Have you tried opening up about an unhappy marriage?