I met him as he was divorcing his ex wife. She left him. He said at the time she complained he wasn't there for her. She was finishing medical school, they had challenging behavior issues with their (out of control spoiled) toddler, and she was having a complicated 2nd pregnancy. He chose that time to run for public office during a midterm election. A few months later she dumped him for the guy she was sleeping with at work.
I actually thought she was crazy to leave him. He's ivy league educated, attractive, funny, romantic... why would she destroy their life? I married him about a year after we started dating.
I had an incredibly demanding (like, life or death demanding) social work job that required frequent round the clock on-call time. He was a board member for some local agencies, and was tinkering around with a startup nonprofit He did not earn a paycheck, but had a trust fund that seemed to make ends meet. So while I was racing from client meeting to client meeting, not even getting lunch breaks all day, he was having 2 hour lunches with other politicos, and enjoying his quiet fancy downtown office space. I quickly became the person who picked up all his slack with *his* young children.
A year after marrying, I had completely burned out; something had to give. My agency was being taken over by another agency I didn't trust. My clients were just as challenging as ever. But I would rush home to relieve his nanny by 5:30 (she watched his two kids all day in the home but he was always late so I had to be there by 5:30 on the dot). I'd cook and serve and play mother to hischildren (my mistake), while he would bore me to DEATH with his never-ending, completely tone-deaf retellings of his days' work. Occasionally he'd ask how my day went, apparently expecting a quick, tidy answer. Usually when I tried to answer, his older child would choose that moment to have a tantrum, which he'd divert his whole attention to. Or else his eyes would glaze over and he'd seem to be totally ignoring me. I tested that theory many times - it was true. I ended up quitting my dream job to replace his nanny. This was one of my few regrets in life. I did bond with his children and we did correct behavior issues, but I lost myself by doing that. I think that's all he really wanted, too. A live in nanny for free.
I slowly figured out during our first year married that he was...fake. He went through the motions, and would appear to be progressive, but he only focused on exactly what he wanted to focus on. He pretended to be paying attention to me when I was talking, but he wasn't. His then 2-year-old would wear the same diaper for 6 hours when in his care. The step-kids would go crazy from a lack of leadership, or basic needs on the weekends, when he should have been dealing with them. They were lucky if he remembered to give them lunch by 2 --he usually didn't, and they woke up no later than 5 am back then. Their lack of basic needs under his sole care provoked even worse behavior from his children. That's when the nagging began in our relationship. He wouldn't take initiative to parent his kids or work on their behavior issues without being told over and over that he needed to do it. I got him a discipline book called 123 Magic, and I badgered him to read and implement the teachings on his children. It was awful for both of us, but over the next few years his kids finally behaved in a healthier, age-appropriate manner. Even the kids' mom appreciated it. I was so miserable and lonely. I had no idea I was marrying someone who would suck all my spirit and energy and give me nothing back. No emotional support, no more romantic behavior. In fact, he openly ogled other women after we were married, began telling me stupid compulsive lies, developed a porn addiction (which he still denies was an addiction) and by the 2nd year of marriage he had completely destroyed our trust.
He's very bright, (but only in an intellectual capacity, literally zero street smarts or common sense, and no housekeeping skills). He has parenting skills now but they are the kind that would completely go away if he wasn't held accountable by someone. I do not allow him to prepare meals for me or our toddler because he can't remember basic safety things, like not to use a dirty rag to dry a wet plate. He doesn't wipe down counters and he can't remember that the dog isn't allowed in the kitchen. So everything he prepares contains dog hair and god knows what bacteria. But the main concern is he doesn't know how to cook. He doesn't know how to thaw something that is frozen. He went to Harvard. Twice. But he has to read the box every time he prepares instant macaroni and cheese. Every meal he prepares is instant or a reheating of something I've prepared. It's been 6 years this fall and I still have to tell him that children need carbs. I've probably said it 500 times. When I met him he was in good shape and I suspect now it was because he literally could not feed himself. He used to make me "lobster soup" which was actually just prepackaged lobster heated up. The "broth" was the water it was packed in. It tasted like lobster in water. Because that's what it was.
A good example of his bad common sense is I suspected some of the jewelry he'd given to me had been his ex-wife's. I confronted him and he denied it. He continued to deny it for 4 years, even shaming me for being of such low character that I'd make such a nasty accusation. Even in front of multiple marriage counselors. The thing is, he doesn't *believe* others could possibly notice the details he can't see. So despite my finding a *receipt* exactly describing the fancy bracelet he gave me that was actually purchased the day before his last big anniversary with his ex, and despite my listing the things that were suspicious about a few of the gifts he gave me, and despite my conversation with his ex where she said YES, THOSE ARE MINE THANK YOU, he held on to that lie. Until about six months ago when I cornered him randomly and he confessed. I still can't actually believe anyone would do that to someone they loved. I sensed well before I had hard evidence that something was wrong with those pieces, and I never wore them. I really don't know if I could ever trust anyone again after it, I hope that doesn't sound absurd. It just rattled me for some reason I can't quite articulate today.
Another example of his lack of common sense is he regularly would put me in disturbing situations, despite my asking him to stop. A few times he was oblivious to creepy people who were approaching us in bad parts of town when we were dressed up. He'd get in the car and take forever to unlock my door from the inside. Once a crazy guy came running up to me and started demanding that I give him money. My husband just sat in the car and waited until I handled it. Fortunately, as a social worker I have a clue. But it would've been nice if I had someone who had my back, ever. In the winter he'd get out of the car at the gas station and leave his door open so we'd all have to freeze and breathe in fumes while he pumped gas.
He has bad boundaries with his family and jumps when they say jump (please pardon that awful cliche). I don't know if it's a typical ADD thing, but it seems like it could be, because it appears to be more about his reflexive fear of not meeting people's demands than about pleasing them. I think if it were about pleasing them, he'd have chosen a different wife. As it happens, a lot of them don't like me. I don't let them control my life the way they used to control his life for him and I expect privacy and respect and the right to raise my own kids and have my own traditions without them constantly in my face. They have not been kind to me, but he could not protect me from them any more than he could protect me from the creepy guy in the theatre district or the cold air at the gas station. At this point I have taken it on my self to lay the line for us both. I will not have anything to do with a couple of his family members. He weakly goes along with this when I'm watching, but pretends everything is fine with them when I'm not present. It's just bizarre. The whole thing stinks.
What else, oh, he regularly gets in traffic accidents. I refuse to share my vehicle because he crashed it (small fender benders) 3-4 times in the 2 years I've owned it. Every time the kids told me, because he forgot it happened. His car looks like an old tin can.
He drinks too much.
He lets me cook and clean and do all the organizing in the house and all the shopping and all the thinking about EVERYTHING for birthdays or holidays, he just shows up and experiences Christmas! Or his kids' birthdays! Or, Valentine's Day! I order my own flowers, my own candy, my own gifts, and I long ago stopped hoping he'd ever get a dinner reservation for a special event. The only Mother's Day events I've attended since knowing him were things I set up for my own mother. He never gets me (or anyone!) a thoughtful gift. All his shopping is last minute. He doesn't do the dishes when I cook despite having that conversation and making that commitment no fewer than 20 times. But the biggest problem we face currently outside of what all I've listed above, is he financially destroyed us.
We had a piece of valuable land and we built a house on it when we were just married. He mislead me to believe he had a significant amount more wealth than he had. I pointed out several times that it didn't add up, but he insisted we build our dream house. I had to pick everything of course and make all the decisions, but when I hedged over the price of something, he always chimed in with wanting to do it, and that it was an "investment." We barely finished the house. It's still not decorated. The mortgage(s) are underwater. Because he secretly borrowed shocking amounts of money secured by our home, without asking me!, to start a business that is entering its 4th consecutive year in the red. He has not earned a regular paycheck at any point that I've been with him. We've had several liens on our home, and we have ruined relationships with nearly every contractor we've ever worked with over late payments and bounced checks he's written. (I refuse to write checks from any of our joint accounts!) I have had to -many many times- use my child support from my first husband to buy his kids' dinners, school lunches, clothes, gifts, and medical bills.We will probably lose our home this year.
The truth is, the horrible truth I mean, is after all this I really don't love him anymore (well it's like maybe 5% because I have a good memory and there were things I used to love but I'm too angry all the time to care anymore) -- I definitely haven't found him attractive in YEARS; he's essentially another one of my children. I think our marriage is incredibly toxic for our child, we sleep on different ends of the house at my insistence. But I fear & dread divorcing him even more than I fear a lifetime of misery with him. He has a nasty entitled personality that is unshakable. He is rude to waiters, arrogant at parties, and has no consideration of the effects his sloppiness has on our children's lives. But I saw how vicious he was toward his ex during his last divorce. He does not like being left (who would!). But he's totally irrational about it. I have asked countless times but he won't consider an amicable break. I fear I'd be completely ruined by it. I no longer have a job. My former job does not exist. I only have an undergraduate degree..in Political Science. I would be in big trouble if we broke up because he can't/won't pay his bills and he'd do that to us just to spite me.
But most of all, I can't risk that he'd win half custody and then go on to endanger or neglect our child. I feel that's guaranteed. I could not bear to have him with our son unsupervised overnights. Plus, hell, I don't want to be away from my child overnight! I love being with him all the time. And frankly, this isn't my job, but I'd hate to do that to my step-kids. They need me and they love me. I no longer try to be their other mom (I've taken a different approach and it's healthier) but without me they don't even get fed. Who in their life would notice if they need a nebulizer? Neither of their parents can manage to do that currently. For my husband, it's not about what is in the child's best interest, but what he wants, what he feels he deserves. So for now I'm staying. It is unbelievably awful.
I used to think he was a narcissist, or some kind of crazy spoiled brat. Maybe he is, but after reading more about narcissism, I realized he doesn't quite qualify because he has a fair amount of empathy. It just doesn't cause him to change anything. I mean, he feels remorseful when he' busted for being horribly selfish. I suspect he has adult ADHD based on several hours of web research. Someone I know recommended that I look up Dr Hallowell's books so I've just ordered them from Amazon today. I'm sure the Mr will get right on reading those ...
I'm not sure if this is a good thing but my husband desperately wants me to stay and claims to love me. It seems like a bunch of crap to me, but he does try,every day, to do things "right."
My next step is I'm seeing a financial lawyer to try to protect whatever is left of the value of our shared property....