Marrying The Hatchet
My husband of two months has always treated me very well, and is usually thoughtful. But, one week before our wedding, he broke a promise. I hate the whole stripper thing, so he agreed to a coed party at a dueling piano bar. There was a strip club next door, but he promised he wouldn't go in. All was well until I learned that he and his brother (who's nothing but trouble) were at the strip club. I went over and went crazy and tossed an ashtray at his head. I was kicked out, they followed, and his brother yelled at me. I wanted to call off the wedding, but we still got married. Since then, I keep bringing this up and he keeps begging for forgiveness, saying he'd never been so drunk, and he didn't know what he was doing. I just can't understand how he could hurt me this way.
-- Still So Angry Inside
If your husband tossed an ashtray at your head, do you think he'd be describing himself as "Still So Angry Inside" or "Still In Court Trying To Get The Charges Reduced"?
It doesn't take much for domestic violence against men to be taken seriously ... usually, just a chalk outline where a man's body used to be. The rest of the time, people tend to shrug it off or even find it cute: "Well, well, well, she's quite the firecracker!" Granted, male abusers can do much more damage with their fists, but put a heavy object in a woman's hands, and good morning brain damage! (Just wondering ... has your husband gotten the ashtray out of his skull, or does he have to hang around smoking areas with his head bent down so people have someplace to flick their ash?)
But, he broke his promise! Bummer. Human nature happens. If your husband's a cad, why marry him at all (couldn't get the catering deposit back)? If he's a good guy who got drunk and slipped (maybe after his bro gave him a little push), why make him sorry he married you? Sure, if he keeps slipping, say, by tucking your monthly mortgage payment into some stripper's g-string, that's one thing. But, come on ... two-plus months later, are you really reacting to what happened -- or just acting out as a means of controlling him? Consider what you're doing to him and to your marriage by showing him that nothing he says or does makes the slightest bit of difference. As a friend of mine likes to say, "Your proctologist called. They found your head."
You can stay married to your grudge or your husband, pick one. Frankly, you each have a lot of work to do in therapyland, individually and together. You have to deal with your uncontrollable anger and the underlying issues -- probably insecurity and fear of being ditched -- and get in the habit of expressing your fears instead of weaponizing them. Your husband needs to start standing up for himself -- for starters, by doing a Senator Craig and withdrawing his guilty plea. The correct response? The one your girlfriends would be pushing on you if the tables were turned: "There's no excuse for domestic abuse!" (Physical or emotional.) Finally, the two of you should attend one of Dr. John Gottman's research-based marriage weekends (gottman.com) and learn to have a partnership instead of a monarchy. Marital harmony can be yours, just not by getting your husband to "agree" to like what you like: stag parties featuring your fat, fully clothed co-workers burying their heads in plates of cake instead of some hot young thing leaping naked out of one.
After 13 years trying to hold a marriage together, I'm getting divorced. I married at 18, and my husband is the only man I've been with, so yeah, I'm having a blast dating and living a little. I'm a good mom, with good kids, 12 and 10, and I'm not bringing dates home. Yet, I'm getting flak from my siblings for acting out my 20s in my 30s. How do I deal with their negativity?
Revel in it? It's not like you're introducing your kids to a new "uncle" every morning, or having them hold your hair back while you puke up last night's fun. Chances are, your siblings' "flak" is less about bad parenting than really great sex -- the fact that you're probably having it, and they're probably not. Think of what you're doing as the life version of "in case of loss of cabin pressure ..." You're supposed to secure your own mask first, not pass out trying to get one on your kid. Likewise, having a happy life seems pretty essential to raising happy kids. As for the appropriateness of acting out your 20s in your 30s -- beats following your siblings' lead and acting out your nosy, meddling 70s.