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Asked by Last Updated:

Can an abusive wife really change her ways and should I give her a chance?

Hi, This is a bit of a long one.
I posted it on "talkaboutmarriage.
com" originally, (in full), it had some great replies, but horrible "keyboard warriors", I'll keep it brief here.
I'm desperate for advice but please keep it peaceful, respectful and as you would like yourself to be spoken to.
(it did not go well last time) So, we're at a crossroads after our problems; I loved her unconditionally, did nothing to instigate our problems.
She was a really crappy wife (details below) she has done a 180 on truly attrotious behaviour and been the perfect; "dream wife" for nearly 5 months now, could not ask for more.
I know it's right and proper I reciprocate, problem is, its like my heart isn't invested anymore.
Catagorically; I did nothing to instigate this.
I've been with my wife for 17 years - married 11, (M37, F33), two children (3,7), within a day or two of marriage she hit me, there were a few more serious incidents, over the first 4 years, but that STOPPED; 7 years since violence stopped.
The kids are safe, and there is no further issue.
After that, she was never there for me, in any way, never showed interest, and used to periodically dissapear up to friends she'd found on the internet with my kids, against my consent for a week at a time.
Threat was "don't make me choose between you and them".
Along with never emasculating me, running me down, 10 years cliche "useless male", telling untruths about me to mutual friends and swearing at me.
At the "away" friends, she found a bloke friend and for about a year, wouldn't shut up to me about how awesome and great he was, most conversations he'd crop up, and so on.
Including arranging and extra night attempting to spend time an evening with him (there's even more).
Eventually I questioned her faithfulness, her reaction just radiated "busted", and was embaressing to watch.
About 18 months ago; I bumped in to a girl, 10 years younger than me, who fell for me, wanted me and with big open arms wanted to provide the friendship, companionship and respect my wife was not (note I haven't mentioned sex).
I met her as a friend (innocently) twice, the second time, I'd say a possible emotional affair lasted as long as a 10 second kiss which sponaneusly happened.
I backed off with "no, I can't do this, it's wrong.
" I cannot emphasis how crushed I felt "stopping" that interaction is it felt "right".
I think that was the moment that started my slow decline to my current indifference; "gosh, I could share life with someone who isn't horrible to me.
" The talking about me untruthfully took a turn for the worse when two women (ex-mutual friends) had bad experiences with ex-husbands, it hit a nerve with them and they made my life a misery fo nearly 2 years (its stopped now), I felt devastated about the untruths and breach of privacy, more than their treatment of me, the stuff was sickening.
At this "road to damascus moment", she says she now understands why I questioned her faithfulness, and also understands the many reasons I don't trust her anymore, that you can't "unsay" things, and shitty she has treated me.
Full acceptand of why that other girl caught my attention.
She accepts she never addressed any of our issues and violated our privacy in the worse may.
She even accepts why I'm suspicous of the sudden change.
She's been consistently "changed" for coming up to 5 months, and it is admirable, but emotionally, I'm not invested.
I know I should try, but that's it.
If you feel irked, angered because this touches a 'bad' nerve, I apologise, and also please stop and think before you repling; replies to this kind of thread will have consequences that can be constructive, but could be devastating.
peacefull, respectfully and as you would like to be addressed.
Thanks all,

1 Answers

Emily Rodes Answered:

I'm really sorry you're dealing with all of this drama in your marriage. It sounds like you and your wife, for better or worse (let's be honest, much, much worse!) have been through a lot together.
She's taking responsibility for her actions and that's a great step in the right direction. It does seem like she may have been cheating on you and has obviously had a past history with violent behavior.
However, you say that she has changed and that's wonderful. It takes a lot of strength to put an end to bad behavior.
But whether you can forgive her and learn to trust her again may be an entirely different story.
I believe that you have emotionally checked out of your marriage, especially if you have fallen for/taken interest in someone else. I'm not blaming you for it. When you feel betrayed by someone and physically abused by them, you naturally start to shut off emotionally.
I do believe that if you didn't have this other woman in your life, you would probably be more amenable to working on your marriage.
Whether you decide to continue with your marriage is up to you, but I highly suggest going to marriage counseling with your wife. Even if you decide not to remain together, your counselor can help you both restore trust and boost your communication skills (which, even if separated, you will still need to raise your children).
Here's a great resource for finding therapists in your area that I think you'll find really helpful:

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