What would you do? My husband is very friendly with this woman at work. He talks about her which is why I looked in his phone and saw a series of texts of her needing “to vent” he’s all supportive and understanding… which triggers me. Then a little later he’s telling me another story about her and her husband trying to adopt a kid… Is it just me? Or is that extremely personal stuff to be talking to my husband about? I’m already paranoid as it is, what with the anxiety poo and all. Seems to me she has her own husband so fuck off and leave mine alone! Should I invite them to dinner? Should I go to his work and confront her. If I confront my husband, he’ll just go underground like he does. I don’t know what to do.
I’m exhausted. I want out. I’m trapped. I have three kids. Everybody’s heart breaks, mine doesn’t matter. I have no marketable skills. Still waiting for my green card aaaaand the border is closed. I feel like a caged animal. A pet cat that my he comes home to and pets to make himself feel good, you know like you do when you have a cat.
I can see the handwriting on the wall — I know what this is. I haven’t a single asset. I have nothing. I woke up one day and realized I’m trapped and I hate myself for pick me dancing. Why do I doubt myself? I know what he’s doing, I know nothing adds up. Talk about mindfuck. EVERYONE loves him — I’m the difficult one, I’m crunchy and fat. He’s super nice to me, except when you comment on his driving then he loses his SHIT.
I feel like I could just drop dead from the constant stress and tension — how can my body maintain this? Lately I’ve been feeling like if I don’t leave I’ll die, like have another heart attack but this time actually die. This can’t be good no matter how nice he is. What kind of fucked up tactic is that? All nice all the time and then off to work and develop another relationship with someone else — not for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, you have to confront him veeeery delicately or he loses his shit. So I never confront him. I’m an idiot.
What is the first step? — think I can take it from there if I can just get in my mind a first step.
The House Pet
The first step is to take stock of yourself. Forget what your husband is up to for a moment. You feel like this relationship is killing you. Honor that. The stress of whatever is going on is making you sick. You don’t feel safe in this relationship, so it’s time to find the exit hatch and take back control.
Break it down. You have no marketable skills? Really? Can you clean a house? Cook a meal? Babysit another child? You’ve got marketable skills. If you don’t have a green card (i.e., the ability to work in the country legally), there is working underground, or there is taking the time to go to school and get a skill that will pay you a living wage. Nursing, skilled trades, AC repair person, these are trades you can take anywhere that people need. You didn’t want to be an AC repair person or a nurse? Hey, that job is not getting out-sourced AND you also didn’t want to be a suicidal stay-at-home mom. So, pick your poison.
Yes, school costs money. There are grants, loans, scholarships — research every single avenue to making yourself employable and educated. Invest in yourself. This is energy well-spent. You and your kids deserve your energy. A life-sucking marriage does not.
Anxiety is unfocused. It’s primal fear. FOCUS your fears into goals. Small, doable goals. You’re terrified because right now, because he is your ONLY plan. That needs to change, pronto. It will be a slog, but all independence campaigns are. Economic vulnerability is very scary, especially now during a pandemic. It is not, however, insurmountable. Many, many SAHMs here left cheaters and came out the other side, and I’m sure they’ll leave encouragement and tips in the comments.
Next step, call a lawyer. Many do first-hour consultations for free. You may feel a lot saner if you knew you had options and rights. Find out what you would be entitled to for support, alimony, health care with a divorce. He may have to even finance your schooling or job search. Right now, you don’t know any of these variables. You just have the action-canceling, self ruling that you are “trapped.” Get a legal opinion on that.
As for your husband, talking with a co-worker isn’t cheating. And sloppy boundaries may just be sloppy boundaries. You hint at knowing more, not his first time? (at cheating?) and that he’s very defensive — and those are bad signs. But the bottom line is, if you don’t FEEL safe in this relationship, you aren’t safe. It doesn’t matter if he’s cheating, what matters is — is this relationship acceptable to you? Do you trust this person enough to be utterly vulnerable with him — emotionally? financially? physically?
Only you can answer that. But I’m here to tell you there’s a path out. You’re not an idiot. You’re just tired and exhausted from waging the wrong campaign — pick me dancing to save the marriage. Wage a different campaign — saving YOURSELF. And see if your mood, and your resolve, don’t improve.