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You Asked: My Husband Is Controlling

Dear Sugar,

My husband and I have been together for four years now, and we have a two-year old son. Our sex-life has changed, mainly because of me. I’m so tired most of the time because I spend more time with our son than my husband does. He's pretty controlling and he says he wouldn't be acting that way if I satisfied him more.


He has an issue with me going out with my friends. It doesn’t matter if they're male or female but whenever I want to go out, he’ll call me constantly wanting to know what I’m doing or if any other men have tried to talk to me.

He accuses me of having other men over to the house when he’s at work, but he’ll say that he’s only joking with me just to see what I say. He says he acts the way he does only because he cares.

I was in an abusive relationship back in college, and I noticed that some of my actions then are similar to my actions now. I'm really careful with who I talk to or make eye contact with. Things just feel really bad. We’ve been to counseling in the past, but we stopped going because he felt like the therapist was finding fault with him. (We went to the therapist because I found out that he was contacting his ex-girlfriend and almost cheated on me.) I just don't know what to do.

—So Unhappy Hannah

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Dear So Unhappy Hannah,

Your husband seems insecure and he's trying to control you as a way to feel better about himself and to feel more powerful. Controlling behavior is never okay, whether it is mental or physical. You should be able to live your life freely and not have to worry about someone telling you what you can and cannot do. Also, don't let him use lack of sex or "because he cares" as an excuse for his behavior. He is negatively affecting your life and things can only get worse.

The bottom line is that you can't trust him (he almost cheated on you?) and he treats you disrespectfully. He needs to get his jealous and abusive tendencies under control, and therapy is a great way to do that. Maybe you can help him find a new therapist that is a good match for him that is if he's willing to work on himself and this relationship.

What about your son? Do you want him to grow up seeing his father acting this way? I worry that your husband will start on him next. What if his controlling behavior turns into physical violence? Right now, you've got to do whatever is necessary to keep you and your son safe. If I were you, I'd move in with family or a close friend until your husband gets some help. You can also get more information or support by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. This isn't something you have to go through alone. I hope this helps.

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