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Meaningless Situation?

Susannah wrote:

I am a 28 year old mother of 5. My oldest is 8 and the youngest is 2. I am not sure if I want to stay in this marriage.

He cheated on me about 5 years ago and just recently I cheated on him. What bothers me is that I have no feelings of regret or guilt. I have no feelings except friendship for the guy I cheated with. The feeling is mutual there.

I have been married 10 years and thought I was dead from the waist down until the opportunity came up for me to have a good time with this friend.

I have put up with so much from my husband. He has been physically, emotionally and mentally abusive and I have found myself starting to be the same way back to him.

If I didn't have all these kids I would probably already be gone but I feel trapped because I don't want to upset my kids and we have no where else to go. My husband is always pressuring me for sex and I hate it. I feel like there is no feeling there. But yet I do it because I feel I have to. There was one time he knocked the tar out of me because I said I didn't want to have sex. I had 3 small lumps on my forhead for 2 months.

My dad knows he's worthless and has often asked why I stay with him. I have felt like I am worthless for about six years. I have not taken care of myself until here lately. I want to be the same person I was before I met him. I was so happy then.

I know he loves me and I don't want to hurt him. We have actually had some good times together as a family. But when it comes to thinking about leaving him I feel like I am betraying my vows and also like I am leaving a friend. I am so confused.

I have so many thoughts running through my head about this. In one way I am thinking I'll stay until the youngest child is 18 and then I think by then I will be completely dead inside. My teeth are in the worst shape imaginable and they are causing me to feel even worse. I don't have any time to myself. I had devoted myself entirely to my family and now I regret not thinking of myself first.

My husband does not help me with anything and when he comes
home from work it's like I'm his maid. It's always get me this, get me that, rub my back or feet or something like that constantly. I need something more. I want someone who will appreciate me and treat me like a woman but there's no one out there who wants someone who's used up with 5 young kids.

I will never sacrifice my children's happiness for my own. If I had the means of supporting my kids on my own I would do it but I can't. I have always been home with my children and don't want to leave them with anyone. What can I do to make the best of this

Dear Susannah

There's a lot of mixed messages here; you say that you'd never sacrifice the kids, but you talk about your regrets for not putting yourself first.

Whatever you do, it's not going to be easy, you know that. But doing nothing is not going to be easy either. Not only will he destroy you, he will be destroying the kids too - either by abusing them as he abuses you - or simply letting them see their mother destroyed.

Doing nothing is not an option. You've suggested that your father understands the situation, how much can he help you?

Your affair may have been a great release for you - but does it say anything about the future?

For a while, you must put the children first - your husband will not change, so you need to think of the future, and making that work. Look around you - who can help, who will help. You'll be surprised; once you make it clear that you are making the first move, people will support you and protect you. But you must move first.

It won't be easy - but is it easy now?

And if he hits you again, call the police, and be strong.

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