Dear Annie: This past year has been hell in my marriage. My husband has gone out of his way to mistreat me. It has been eight years since we have had sex. He claims it’s due to a physical problem, but that’s not true. I once spotted him fondling a female guest during a dinner prayer and getting excited.
He told me I repulse him and that’s why he won’t do anything about his sex problem. I asked him to leave, and he refused, saying he’d let the house rot to the ground before I’d get it. So I moved out. He gave my cell number to our preacher and church members and told them he could not live without me. After receiving calls threatening to have me publicly removed from their membership, I went back to him.
We went to our deacon’s house for dinner last week, and he told them how he stayed home to take care of me after I was in a car accident, listing all the sacrifices he made on my behalf. He failed to mention that the reason he could stay home was that he had been fired from his job for sexual harassment – his third offense. The church thinks he is wonderful and I am the bad guy.
I am not looking to destroy his reputation. I just want to get away from him before he further ruins my life. He has even lied to our children, saying I left because I have a boyfriend on the side. They believe him. What can I do? – I Am So Sad
Dear Sad: Your husband is a bully who is counting on the fact that you won’t defend yourself. Stop worrying about his reputation and consider your own. Please tell your children and the deacon the truth about your situation, and ask for their help. Counseling would be a good first step, with or without your husband, through your church or via your doctor’s recommendation.