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Staying in soul-sucking relationships

grannyd's picture

Leaving my spoiled, selfish, ex-husband was traumatic. We had a young son together and enjoyed a good lifestyle with two respectable incomes; he was a marine engineer and I was a high-ranking civil servant.

When we married, my two daughters were preteens. As much as folks exaggerate claims about their bio children, my girls were ‘A’ students, exceptional athletes, hard workers (they had jobs outside the home since each of them were fourteen years old) and had been washing dishes, doing laundry and prepping meals from the time that they were capable; four and five years old.

My European husband criticized his stepdaughters from the get-go. Finally, when my then fifteen-year stood up to him, let him know how much she despised him and left our home to stay with my mother, I made up my mind to leave.

I was overweight; joined Weight Watchers and lost twenty pounds. Started working out and became muscular and fit. Changed my boring hairstyle! I began to put money away every week in order to have enough saved for first and last month’s rent.

There came a point when I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “I’m done with this pain and I’m ready!” The rest is history. 
Eventually, I found my uxorious, kind, loving and forever man. My daughters adore him and quite rightly so. He helped pay for elder girl’s wedding and, pretty much, financed younger daughter’s final year of university. Dare I mention that he could kiss for the Olympics, were such an event possible.

To those trapped in an unwholesome marriage, there is hope! Talk to Rags!




notsurehowtodeal's picture

Thanks for posting this! I think it is important that success stories like yours are posted so those in tough situations can see that there is a way out.

AlmostGone834's picture

No way. If I ever get out, there's no way I am ever getting caught in this rabbit snare that's called "marriage" again. I'm staying single.

Rags's picture

some clarity. Or I would have missed the love of my life.  Though I knew DW was the one. I was scared spitless to remarry.  Then I got the dad talk.  Thank you Dad.

If life finds me without her, heaven forbid, I am not sure I would remarry.  Not that I would avoid another love.  Just not sure I would get papers.  It would have to be someone independent and who did not need me or my money. I would want somone I want, and who wants me.

AlmostGone834's picture

My great aunt grew up dirt poor on a farm. She was born in the 1920's. She never married, though she did end up meeting a man. The running joke in the family was they had "been dating for 50 years", both keeping their own separate houses and freedom but visiting each other several times a week. He'd help her out around her house taking care of small repairs and she would cook for him, run errands, take him to his appointments etc. They'd go out to dinner together, and were company for each other. 
It wasn't until they got older that I realized what an ideal situation they had. Aside from all that, I would likely be too set in my ways at that point to tolerate another marriage. 
I do enjoy reading how highly you speak of your wife (your affection for her shines through) and I hope you have many long years ahead of you together. Your relationship is truly special, as you both respect and adore each other and most importantly, you put your marriage above all else. 

shamds's picture

Batshit carzy and abusive to him and the kids. He was the sole income earner their whole marriage, she did everything possible to prevent a pregnancy and abort a pregnancy. 

people marry young with expectations to have kids together, build a life and future together. It took my fil to say in front onmf the whole family that he needed to divorce his exwife as she was holding him back career wise and sabotaging his career and my fil knew he was capable of rising up corporate ladder etc.

when hubby finally initiated divorce proceedings, she played the poor pity me single mum he's such a horrible guy card all the while was having an affair with her ex highschool boyfriend 1 year  before divorce was initiated. The guy left his wife to marry my husbands exwife days after the divorce

but karma is great, exwife treated hubby like shit their whole marriage, he would come home and not be able to shower and change clothes as she locked herself in their bedroom, hubby slept on the couch. It was 16 yrs of his life wasted. Within months of initiating divorce proceedings, hubby got promoted rapidly and salary increased about 6-7 times. 

exwife wanted half of everything including his retirement savings. Hubby fought in court that his exwife was a stay at home housewife yet didn't raise the kids or care for them, didn't do household chores and spent everyday shopping and maxing out the joint credit cards. Hubby bought the marital home with his own money and savings, exwife didn't contribute anything. She did everything to sabotage his career rather than support it now wanted to claim her right to half of his hard earned work. 

court agreed with my husband and stated exwife could onyl get 1/2 of profit from sale of home. She got a lumpsum of $30,000 and cs for the minor sd was about $500 per month.

hubby withdrew a large chunk of that retirement savings to buy a home in my country because he wants to retire there but he will have enough money to still retire on. The home is in my name only so skids and exwife can't cause issues in event of hubbys death and claim it as theirs or claim a portion.

exwife married the affair guy, lives in a police quarters because they can't afford to live in a home. Her affair husband bought a holiday home in their childhood town about 1.5-2hrs drive away. He doesn't knwo this exwife is sneakily hiding assets/wealth from him so in event of a divorce she can claim she owns nothing and has nothing and screw him out of his wealth. 

i always say, if those people are so toxic and do not add to your quality of life, do not torture yourself with their presence and crap. Remove yourself from it. Life is too short to sabotage and torture it with this crap.

rags definitely helped me find the courage and words to lay things bluntly to my husband, that he wasn't treating me with the respect as his wife and mother of 2 young kids and the skid exwife crap he refused to address and expected i tolerate it.

he wanted to marry me, i moved countries to marry him and made a big sacrifice and this was the way he was treating me and allowing me to be treated. That was unacceptable and i made it clear if he had no intentions to change, that i would leave and divorce because i had no internet of destroying my and our kids life, happiness and future

my husband started waking up and realised that he was making pathetic and ridiculous excuses for the skids and it was pushing me to want a divorce. That was his wake up call. 

we just had our 8th wedding anniversary nov 22, i have no contact with sd's and haven't seen or been around them since late 2018. We are almost 4.5 yrs no contact, my kids do not recognise them as half sisters, they are strangers. Hubby knows we are not family by definition, they are strangers and we don't hang out with strangers who guilted hubby for marrying and having 2 young kids with me to excuse them for their crap behaviour 

Rags's picture

KISS ... Keep IT Stupid Simple works.

Though  your DH's Olympic level kissing is an entirely different and far more enjoyable event.


I too escaped from a toxic marriage. Fortunately I did not have kids either when I entered that marriage, nor when I left.  My XW was nightmare enough for me to deal with. A kid having to experience her insanity would have broken my heart. She has at least three all out of wedlock by at least 2 baby daddies.  Her eldest and youngest are both cheat babies. She was pregnant with the eldest during our divorce, and pregnant with her 3rd prior to the onset of her second divorce.  I feel for all of those kids. Though blessedly none of them are mine.  She is on at least DH #3.  

Leaving a toxic relationship is hard whether you are the leav-ee or the leaver.  I was the leav-ee.  No one marries to divorce.  Not anyone that I know anyway.

The amazing thing is what can come after.  Toxic is toxic. Often the treatment to detoxify a toxic relationship in order to stay is as bad or even worse than the relationship with little to no chance of success in the long term.

Leaving is the only sure way to have a good chance to move past the toxicity.

I am happy that you and your girls have found your calm after the toxic storm. And I am happy that you and your DH are making a happy life together.

How is your son doing?

As for me.  My DW and I have had a great 28+ years together. Our son (my adopted former SS-30) is doing great.  

Though DW's job stress is driving huge anxiety for both of us right now, we are good. Because we are in this together.

Sacrificing one's own life happiness on the alter of martyrdom to a partners failed family is not a sustainable way to live. It makes me sad and furious that so many go down that path.

Take care of you grannyd.



grannyd's picture

Hey, Rags,

You’ve asked, ‘How is your son doing?’

Unlike my daughters, my son was disinterested in academics. Instead, he pursued a five-year apprenticeship (Ontario skilled trades) and now, at forty-five years old, earns six figures. As far as I’m concerned, university is not for everyone. My boy insisted that he ‘would go nuts’, sitting behind a desk. Instead, he and his two helpers trek around Toronto with varied projects every day. He loves his profession and, hey, he lives in a five-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a pool. He, his wife and daughter travel extensively and plan to retire at sixty.

ETA: And, BTW, he's a plumber!

AlmostGone834's picture

It is a NIGHTMARE finding competent roofers, plumbers, builders etc. There is a massive shortage of skilled tradesmen here in the US and when you find them, they can pretty much charge whatever they want and put you on the schedule for 6 months out. I don't know why everyone pushed college so hard growing up.

Rags's picture

industrial revolution social churn.   My grand parents were trades people.  Their  parents (my GGPs) were physical laborers.  Miners and farmers.  They raised their kids with a focus on college.  My dad is the first on either side of my extended family to finish his degree though my Great Uncle did as well.  My GFs and GMs were wonderful people but did wear themselves out early with physically intense careers.  Though they were skilled trades people, they were not laborers. Even with that, they were pretty worn out by the time they retired.  They had good lives, their kids have had good lives. 

I think that we are seeing a social system reset to value the trades.  In part because so many entitled kids have gone to university and never really had to work. They just do not understand the concept.

I see it in the youngest of my trades-people.  Interestingly, the young women are pit bull workers and stars in the making.  I wish that wre the case for the young men.

I first saw this in the Middle East where the young women engineers were working circles around their husbands. 

Good workers with talent will always do well. However, if the boys do not get their jock straps sinched up and get to work, they will be left in the dust by the girls.

Just my observations of course. 


Rags's picture

A former VP that I reported directly to a few years ago started in the Trades in the Calgary area.  He progressed through the Trades, the company put him through university, he and his dad ended up buying the company. He ran it for about 10 years and then they were bought by the massive company I joined.  He was the executive in charge of a division of the very large company when I finished my Morocco assignement and was moved under him.

I have led skilled trades/craft for a very long time.  They are incredibly talented and phenominal problem solvers. A few of my former employees have even become my boss one time or another.  Much like my former VP, they succeeded in the skilled trades then invested their time in parallel with me and the company investing in their university studies.  My talent development budgets are the most valuable category of money that I have in my job.  The return is as close to infinite as you can get when I invest in the right person.

I did chuckled at your DS being a plumber.  My SS's Spermidiot is a licensed plumber but far from successful on the high bar set by your DS and by so many skilled trades people I have been blessed to work with over the years.   BioDad has avoided working far harder than he has actually ever worked.  His mommy and daddy support him to this day. He is in his early 50s.  My SS's SpermGrandHag and SpermGrandPa support the Spermidiot while he chases teen girls and pimps out his ride in between fantasy gaming trounaments.


grannyd's picture

Ten years ago, my DH was hospitalized for a triple bypass and, in keeping with Murphy’s law, my water pump (we live in a rural area) immediately decided to bite the dust. My son (the plumber) drove the hundred miles from his home to mine and set to work in the cramped area under the stairs. 

The sight of him with his toolbelt strapped around his waist and the absolute confidence and professionalism with which he tackled the job brought a tear to this proud Mama’s eye. He could not understand why I was snapping pictures!

Since (Murphy strikes again) yon loathsome pump expired on a weekend, I can only imagine the trouble and expense I'd have encountered had the work not been ‘gratis’. You've written that skilled tradesmen (women) are

...incredibly talented and phenominal problem solvers.

and I can't agree more. Both my son and SIL (an electrician) seldom face a challenge that they can't tackle and solve.

JRI's picture

Plumber and electrician!  How much better can it get!

JRI's picture

There must be something that happens to our brains when we are in a toxic relationship.  As I realized that I and my 2 little kids couldnt continue to live with my ex whose drug use was growing rapidly, I sadly thought,  "I guess that's it, I'll never have another man".  

When I look back at myself thinking that, I wonder, what???  I'm seeing a good-looking, healthy, smart 25-year old with big you-know-what's.  Lol.    Yes, I was unemployed and yes, my prospect of child support was nil.  But, I got a job, moved in with my poor parents, got my divorce and met a kind, sweet, generous man at work.  We will celebrate our 49th anniversary this year.

grannyd's picture

Hon, you've written

...met a kind, sweet, generous man...

Yup, you and me both! My only marital regret is that I love my DH so much that I can't imagine how I'll ever survive without him. I'm always reminding him to stay healthy so that I'm the first to leave this mortal coil.

JRI's picture

My DH is 85 and has prostate cancer.  But, mercifully, it's slow-growing, he's under good care and it's not affecting our life.  Every day, I'm thankful for this sweet, funny man.

I've put up with a lot from steplife because he wasnt only a great father figure to my kids growing up but currently is kind, accepting and tolerant to my DS and his wife who have just moved back to our area, 50 miles away.  My DIL has major health issues requiring multiple medical appts at a nearby medical center so she or they are staying here a few days a week.  I'm ashamed to say I dont think I'd be as tolerant if it were one of his kids.  His philosophy seems to be there have always been sick people ( DIL), there have always been mentally ill people (SD).  

I'm lucky and know it, Granny.

advice.only2's picture

If/when things with DH go south...which is happening I don't ever want to be married again.  I'll just get a house with my BFF and have one night stands.  I don't need the bullshit anymore. 

Shieldmaiden's picture

Thanks for sharing with us GrannyD. I hope I never have to go through that. It takes a lot of personal strength. Good for you! 

grannyd's picture

Hon, what you endure from your husband's teenaged brats takes more personal strength than I can imagine having; I'd have murdered  them before a year was out! Give rose

Stepdrama2020's picture

Granny I love your post. A feel good.. Especially with no skids to ruin your happiness

Blessings hun

grannyd's picture

Actually, Stepdrama, I have two stepchildren; boy, now 52 and girl, now 50 who were 15 and 13 when my husband and I married. My stepson and I hit it off from the get-go and, believe it or not, have not exchanged a harsh word in 37 years! 

My stepdaughter, according to how these associations generally pan out, was difficult, to say the least. She resented my interference in her ‘mini-wife’ relationship with her father and I was horrified by her disrespect and spectacular laziness; particularly as I demanded so much from my own daughters. One of my worst, most shameful memories are of the time that she called me a ‘bitch’ to my face. 

Somehow (think Dr. Strangelove) my right hand rose up, with a life of its own and backhanded her startled face. In fact, we were equally shocked! Instead of condemning my awful conduct, my husband advised his daughter that she’d brought the action on herself. She spent the following six months with her mother, who was understandably furious and when she returned, to resume 50/50 access, her behaviour had improved dramatically. 

You see, her mother enjoyed generous child support which afforded her the opportunity to work a part-time job and party hearty on her off week. She was an attractive woman who loved bar-hopping, treasured her freedom and hated having a snippy, lazy and ungrateful brat on a full-time basis.

Stepdrama2020's picture

You did well! Good for you for calling out the mini wife! Bonus points for having a DH who had your back. Awesomeness right there.


Birchclimber's picture

Granny D, I love your story.  Especially the part where you dropped the useless baggage and reinvented yourself!  What a great role model you've been for your kids.  Big kudos for having a DS and SIL in a skilled trade.  Toronto is a great place to work;  no shortage of work there if you know what you're doing.  (Driving in that city is a skill unto itself!!! I shudder at the memory of it.)  Anyway,  I'm not surprised that he's done well for himself.  He sounds very competent.  You have good reason to be proud!
You did good, Grannyd. Thanks for sharing your story!!!