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This Week’s Question: My husband and I have been married for 34 years. During the early years of our marriage he was unfaithful several times (I believe one night stands). He tells me now that he has not been physical with another woman for many years. He has, although continued to flirt when we are out together and stop in to see woman (who he calls friends) during his work day, he is a truck driver.
He has also been very controlling and was very nasty to our children when they were young, emotionally scarring them. Two years ago he began acting very weird for about 3 months and one of his co-workers didn't know that I was his wife and came in to a public place and was telling the women there that my husband was a REAL womanizer. Of course, when he found out that I was his wife he said that he was only kidding. That was the last straw and I left my husband, separating our assets.
We have been separated for 18 months now and our divorce is in its final stage. I have had a really difficult time with the separation, probably due to co-dependency. I was 17 when we got married. Now we have decided to try getting back together and see if we can make this work.
I bought a condo and he sold his house and moved in with me. He lost money on the house as the market dropped, therefore he insists that we put our money back together or it is not a marriage and he is going to finalize our divorce.
I am afraid to put the money back together as he was very nasty when we split and said that I didn't deserve as much as him. I ended up agreeing to take less, and my lawyer made me sign a paper stating that I did not do what he had advised and what was legal (split the assets 50/50). My husband is also very manipulative and lies. We went to New Life Weekend and the counselor there said that he is narcissistic.
My husband has been going to a prayer group at his church 3 mornings a week and reading scripture and praying. He has also tried to form a relationship with our boys and grandchildren. I would like to believe that he has changed from the inside out.
My counselor advised that I do not put our money together or retire (as he also wants me to do that). He said that he is going to tell our sons this weekend that he just can't take any more, and that he is calling his lawyer on Monday to finalize the divorce. I ‘m panicking because I don't know whether to stop him and just give in.
Any advice that you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: It sounds to me that your husband is still controlling and you're still being manipulated. I guess you will have to decide whether or not you want to live the rest of your life that way.
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. From what I read, nothing much has changed on the inside even though he’s going to prayer meetings and reading his bible. Please don't live the fantasy of who you wish he was, open your eyes, see where he really is right now and ask yourself if you want to go back to the same old things?
You didn't listen to your lawyer, you're not listening to your counselor, I'm not sure you’re ready for my counsel either.
I wish I had better news to give you but I would advise you both to continue your individual work but not put yourself at risk financially by joining monies or retiring right now. Perhaps he’s changing, but there is not enough evidence to trust that. Time will tell.
If you want to give your reconciliation a chance to see if deeper change has really happened, tell your husband that although you love him and would like to see if you can reconcile your relationship, he’s had a history of deceit, controlling behaviors and manipulation and you are not comfortable with pooling your financial pot at this time. But over time if you see that he’s truly changed, then you will reconsider in a year.
See if he’ll respect you and understand that his past behavior has caused this breakdown in marital trust and that it’s up to him to be patient with earning your trust back.
But from what you wrote, he’s already threatening to go through with the divorce because you’re not giving him what he wants. Sound familiar?
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