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He's Hit Me ... Twice

Niamh wrote:

Dear Anon,

I've been married for two years. I'm 32, my husband is 40. I am in graduate school and he has a high pressure job in which he works long hours. Our marriage has been very rocky for the past few months, we argue constantly over everything, family, finances, cleaning the house. It has gotten to the point where my husband has hit me... although he regrets it and has apologized. He did not promise me that he would not do it again and was defensive about the reason for doing it, saying that he was so angry he could not help himself. This is the second time he has hit me in our relationship, once it was a long time ago and he apologized for it.

At this point, I am unsure if I can trust him not to hit me unless I avoid arguing with him about anything but then again, what is the point of a marriage if there is no communication? He gets angry at me if merely ask him a series of questions. I am thinking that if we do not do something soon, we will be headed for a divorce. What is the best way to go about it if we still want to give our marriage a chance? Should we have a trial separation? Should we seek counseling, religious or otherwise? Should we use self-help books? Should we seek individual and couples' counseling? I am at my wits end and feel so alone and afraid to ask my friends and family for help for fear they will tell me to leave him. I would appreciate any advice you might be able to offer.

Sincerely,

At a crossroads

Dear Niamh,

He hit you once; he said he was sorry. You gave him the benefit of the doubt.

He hit you again; he said he was sorry. You live in fear.

There is no doubt now - he will hit you again. And you know he will; even if you give in every time. He will hit you again.

You must leave him, now. By all means keep talking, by all means go to joint counselling. But do not go back until he has had help for managing his anger.

And when he hits you again, go to the police.

You know you cannot spend forty years in fear, you know you can never trust this man with your children. Leave him. Then plan your next moves.

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