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Is This The Right Time To Leave My Marriage?

by Angel

I'm not exactly sure where to start. I have so many mixed feelings and I don't know what to follow.

My husband has been emotionally and physically abusive for a little under a year. I didn't have the strength to leave him when it began, because he was all that I had for support at the time. I believe that I can be emotionally abusive to him as well and more recently have decided to strike back when things get physical in order to defend myself.

After any physical abuse, my husband cries and begs for my forgiveness. He's very sincere when he does this, which is why I don't understand how this can keep happening.

I don't want to leave him. I would much rather work things out. I've recently been given advice to separate, and ask him to see a psychotherapist as an individual as well as a couple. My husband is in the military, and he has been away for about 2 weeks for training. He still has another 2 weeks until he is back.

I was told to find a place to stay for a while, find a job, and start seeing a therapist now, before he gets back. What I am conflicted on is if this is the right time to leave. He told me before he left that he is depressed and I'm not sure if being gone when he gets home is going to hurt more than it will heal.

But I know that once he gets me face to face, he'll give me a million and ten reasons to stay, and if I don't agree to it because of those reasons it will probably get physical. This is what I want to avoid by leaving early - the control and manipulation.

But he'll be back from training, exhausted, and wanting nothing more than to come home and spend time with me. And on top of that - his birthday is a week after he gets home. How am I supposed to leave him right now? I know this situation is a terrible one, but I don't have the heart to hurt him that much. I just need some guidance.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Angel, and thanks for telling your story here. It sounds like you've been getting some good advice and guidance. I agree with everything that has been recommended to you. It sounds like your main question is about timing.

First of all, there is never a good time to leave a relationship...meaning, your mind will always find a reason not to. The situation you describe is serious. It would be bad enough with the abuse he is perpetrating on you, but now that you're fighting back, the chance that you will get hurt are much greater.

This is not love, Angel. This is relationship addiction. You need to follow the advice you've been given. You really can't afford to worry about him right now...his depression, exhausted when getting home and wanting to be with you, and his birthday coming up. He has forfeited his right to be with you, but being abusive again and again. If he really wanted to stop, he could be seeking help himself--which apparently he is not. I'm sure he sincerely feels bad after hurting you, but that feeling has not been strong enough to get him to take action to assure your safety--that's why you have to be the one to do that.

Here are a couple of pages that might be helpful to you, as you consider your choices. Learn about the battered wife syndrome, which is a form of relationship addiction. Sometimes it's important to think about letting go of a relationship and creating a healthy, happy life for yourself.

Take the necessary action to insure your safety, Angel. Then, once you're physically safe, begin approaching the possibility of therapy. But be very aware that he has to want it for himself, not just to get you back.

You are worthy of respect and kindness in all of your relationships, especially your marriage.

You can do this. I'm sure you will make the right choices for yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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