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Question:

I am 51 year old woman , divorced twice and last married 23 years ago. I have 3 grown children and 2 grandsons. I am in a relationship with a man who lost his wife of 30 years ago to cancer. I moved 900 miles to live with him.

He now treats me like a slave. I have no resources and no vehicle. He convinced me to sell mine and he purchased a car, in his name, for me to drive. I also sold or gave most of my belongings away, such as my furniture etc. My money has run out from paying my bills. Now I have to ask money for everything I need.

He is mean, at times, to the point that he tells me to either do what he says or get out. He knows that I have nowhere to go. Then, when he calms down, he blame for all of the problems because I push his buttons on purpose. He tells me that I need to forgive him because I have no better options. He then accuses me of being abusive when I verbally defend myself. He also says his friends accept him as he is and don’t have a problem with him.

I know that he is abusive but I am trapped. I also have some recent health problems and working would be difficult. My choices are few, other than moving to a shelter.

At present, I am visiting my family out of state and will be returning. However, I am returning to him with the understandings that: 1) I am not his free labor or intimate partner, 2) We will have separate rooms and I will no longer be the maid, worker, or slave. I have given him the option to give me the car and cash to leave but he refuses.

I know he will not hit me but it won’t be easy either. He also seems to have a problem with his grief of his late wife. He worships her to this day and expects me to be like her, cook, dress, etc. He constantly makes comparisons and puts me down because, according to him, I am not as good as her in any way.

What is normal for grieving for a late wife? What are normal expectations in a new relationship?

He also does not talk abusive to me in front of others, nor does he talk abusive to others, nor did he talk to his late wife that way.

Can you give me your professional opinion of what is wrong with him?

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Answer:

“What is wrong with him” is not the relevant question. The relevant question is, why do you stay with him? I realize that you have explained the reasons why you have no choice but to stay. However, I have my doubts. You have adult children and you have grandchildren. You are visiting your children who live in another state. The relevant questions are: 1. Have you spoken with your children about how you are caught in an abusive relationship, 2. Can they temporarily put you up in one of their houses? Even though you state that you are not his slave, you act as though you are. In reality, there is no reason for you to stay with him. In my opinion, you should refuse to return to him and permanently stay away.

I am basing my opinion on several factors:

1. You report that he will not hit you. If you are certain of that, why do you bring it up at all in your E. Mail? I believe the answer is that you fear that he could become violent. My guess is that you are right to have that fear. It’s a small step from verbal to physical violence.

2. You know very well that his supposed grief for his late wife is nonsense. I do not mean to seem callous but, after all, she died thirty years ago. In all of that time why did he not remarry. I suspect, educated guess wise, that no one can live with him because he is impossible.

3. After abusing you he shows no remorse. Instead, he blames you for his nasty behavior.

Why do you tolerate this situation? Why have you talked yourself into helplessness? You say that you cannot work because of your health. However, you can apply for disability and your medical doctor will help you. Is your health really so disabling that you cannot work? Perhaps it is but, I am asking this question because it seems that you too easily talk yourself into helplessness. Again, I do not want to seem callous or insensitive. I am not. My wish is that you put a stop to this abuse by getting away from this man.

Anyway, that is my opinion and my advice.

I wish you well.

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