Hi Dr. Schwartz,
I am 40 years old and married with 3 young children, aged 8 to 2. I am in a different race marriage. He is from Africa whilst I am from Asia. We have been together for 12 years now. Both of us are living in Europe. He is very controlling and used to violence. I have tried to leave him many times but I end up going back to him as I dont have any family or friends here. He has been having a series of affairs with older women. Whenever he is caught he tells me that he is only using these women to get money. I believe they do give him money and lavish him with gifts.
He always says that he loves me and the kids and he will kill me if he ever finds out I have an affair or leave him. He also believes in corporal punishment on the kids. My first and second daughters are scared of him all the time. I know deep down in me that I cannot live with him anymore but I am too scared to leave him.
We have separate bedrooms but I would say that our sex life is never an issue. He said that his late father did not share a room with his mom as well so he is used to it. I felt so stupid as I was typing this letter to you because I already know what is the answer. I shouldn’t let this man walk all over me. I am very depressed and I feel so bad towards the kids for not being able to protect them from him.
Am I the problem here or him? I am so confused now. Please help. I can’t talk to my family back home because I am ashamed.
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One thing that I hope happens as a result of my response to your question is that your confusion is ended. In my mind and in my opinion, based on what you have described in your E. Mail, you and your children are being physically and emotionally abused. In fact, your husband even threatened you with death if you attempt to leave him. This is totally unacceptable. This man is terrorizing both you and your young children. No one can live this way. It is no surprise that you feel depressed. I can only encourage you to take your children and leave him. How to do this?
You report that you have family in Asia, where you come from. I understand that you feel shame about letting them know about what is happening. I also know and appreciate the fact that shame is a powerful force in Asian families. However, you and the children are in deep trouble and need help. What I am suggesting is that you contact your family and ask them to come and get you and the children and bring you home to safety.
You say that you live in Europe. European nations are democratic, enlightened and protective of human rights. I suspect that the police where you live can help you get away from your husband and protect both you and your children until your family comes and gets you.
It is outrageous that you and the children are being treated this way this way. Do you realize that this man admits to having extramarital sex and tells you that it is justifiable because he makes money that way? I must say, that is one of the most awful and outrageous things I have ever heard. And you ask if you are the problem or he is? That is the easiers question to answer. Please, get away from this man. Take your children with you and run. Run back to Asia. Run to the police.
You and your children have a right to a decent life.
It is terrible to imagine how scared you and the children must feel.
Please, protect yourself and them.
Best of Luck