DEAR ABBY: A few weeks ago, my husband and I had what I thought was a minor conflict, from which I walked away to avoid escalation. I could hear him continuing to rant, so I pulled up the security camera on my phone and watched and listened as he continued to say horrible things for an hour or more. He called me a disgusting blob, said there is nothing appealing about me, and I should go out in the yard and kill myself just like my father did.
The words were so painful that I began to sob uncontrollably and screamed in anguish. He never came to console me. In fact, he told me to “shut up.” I’m not a crier, typically, so his blatant disregard for the effect his words had on me raises another level of concern.
We have since discussed the event, and his first defense was to say he didn’t know I could hear him. Meanwhile, I have to live with the fact that I’m married to a man who has such a low opinion of me that he thinks I should kill myself.
I have no family, and I’m hesitant to upend a life that is finally stable after a chaotic childhood and early adulthood. My husband isn’t typically abusive, but this incident has me questioning everything. We have been together for 22 years and married for nearly 16 with no children. What are your thoughts? — THROWN INTO TURMOIL
DEAR THROWN: My first thought is that you and your husband need to find a healthier way to deal with your “conflicts” than your walking out on him, and him saying nasty things into a camera knowing full well he might be heard. If your definition of stability is tolerating further verbal abuse, then you are — and will be — paying a high price for it.
I sincerely hope the two of you will try to iron out your differences with the help of a licensed marriage and family therapist. After all the years you have invested in each other, it’s worth a shot.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I married 20 years ago. He never proposed; he just came home one day from boot camp and said, “We need to get married tomorrow so that I can get paid more,” and we did. I regret that day. It wasn’t what I wanted, and it meant nothing to me.
Since then, so much has happened. He cheated on me while he was in the service, and had PTSD to the point where he tried to kill himself, among other things.
We are now in a happy place and have two awesome kids. I would like to redo our wedding day and for him to propose to me. The problem is, he isn’t ready. He said he hasn’t done it because we have had more lows than highs. He said he will eventually, when he feels the time is right.
My feelings are hurt, and now I’m questioning why I am still here. I have stuck by his side for 20 years, through thick and thin. I deserve that and much more. I’m not asking for anything over the top. Do you think I’m overreacting, or should I finally move on? — TIRED OF WAITING IN TEXAS
DEAR TIRED: I don’t think you are overreacting; I think you are over-orchestrating. You say you and your husband are in a happy place now after years of struggle, plus you have two awesome kids. Now is not the time to upset the apple cart. More important than redoing his proposal and your wedding day is devoting some time to working on communicating more effectively with each other.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)