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Our Marriage Is Failing

"We've Hit Rock Bottom — Should I Stay or Go?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I will try and make this short and to the point. I married my high school boyfriend almost 6 years ago, after we found out I was pregnant. We have 3 wonderful kids, but my relationship with my husband has been a roller coaster of a ride. My husband has jumped from job to job in the past 6 years, unable to keep a job more than a year. Whenever he stopped working, I would find work until he had a new job — he has not had a job for almost a year.

We have been to the brim of a breakup so many times that it seems like clockwork. Every time I think, this is it, I am leaving, but he ends up getting a job or whatever. This time, it has almost been a year since he lost his job — he is now in a trade school to become a class A driver. I feel bad because we have been through this before, him finding a new dream and me trying to be 100% supportive. Then, back to square one a year later. At this time, we are living in his parents' guest house, they have always been there to help us out. At times it feels like I'm playing house.


About 2 years ago, things got really bad in our relationship. That same year, I cheated on my husband with an ex-boyfriend. It was only a one-time thing, but it was the worst thing I could have ever done, I have regretted it every day since. This past year has been rock bottom in our marriage, to the point it has turned from verbal to physical abuse. My husband found out about my secret about 7 months ago. I had to leave my job because he would call my work and start to yell at me about it.

He said he forgives me, but I am not sure he does. Whenever we have a disagreement, he throws it at me. I know it takes years for couples to work that out, but I'm not sure he will ever forgive me. He thinks our relationship is great, even though everyone else has seen the emotional breakdown I've been going through the past 5 years.

My friends say I should leave, but our folks say we just have to get through this bump and everything will be OK. It has been 6 years. Will it ever change?

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kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
OP, it's ok for you to seek out outside advice. I'd never end up marrying my current husband now who truly makes me happy and have our kids if I'd listened to my parents. I'd end up with my ex-fiancee who has a white-collar career, but he was cheating on me (I found out later) and I was really miserable for over 5 years with him (like you, OP, I wanted to leave so often but didn't for over 5 years), but my parents thought it'd be ok because we'd work it out or whatnot :) I'm so glad for that time I actually didn't listen to them, then I found out anyway, what my parents want was good, they did intend for me to be happy, but they had a narrow pov of what could make me happy. Again OP, I think you have lots of thoughts to consider, trust what you've seen out of him as a partner for the last 6 years. Good luck to you and your children :) Blessed be.
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
From what i read yall are a close family. So forget what I or anybody here says. Listen to your parents, who you mentioned. They know you better and want you to succeed and be happy more than anybody else. They're the ones to ask advice from
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 5 years
I'll ignore the controversy, it's well covered. What struck me is that when he loses a job you step up and get a job right away (that's amazing in this economy) until he's working again and then you quit again. Why?! You two seem more committed to the idea of you staying at home than going with what actually works: you -- the steadier and apparently more employable partner -- as the actual breadwinner. He can stay with the kids. If he won't do that, I think you need to accept that you're on your own anyway. He's acting like another kid by not being dependable for all of you. It's not the fantasy of a stay at home mom, but it is the result of the partner you choose. I realize this might be moot in this particular relationship, but if you go on to others please choose a man who is the man you want, not a diamond in the rough. Most of us have to learn that lesson. You'll be ok. Girl up, get additional training if needed, and carry on!
henna-red henna-red 5 years
The OP's original question's been six years, will it ever change? The only thing you can judge the potential for change on is the present and the past. You have to make your decisions and your choices on the present you're living in, with the past behavior as a template. Has it changed in 6 years? Hope isn't enough with three kids. You've been hoping for six years that he'd get it together around some kind of steady work. He's training for driving truck, and as Kurni has said, OP, that can be a very tough profession, often taking the driver away from home for significant amounts of time and working very difficult and long hours. And as of now, it's still training mode. He's been out of work for a year, is training for a job, and still has to find work after he's qualified and then prove himself up to maintaining it. There's a lot of work in there for him. And you won't know if it can change until it does. So believe what he's shown you. Believe what he's demonstrated. Believe what you're living with now, and what you've been living with for the last six years. Be safe, be well, do what is best for your kids....not what is best for the grandparents, your parents, but whatever will keep you and your kids safe and get you to a stable place. That is what you need to do. Figure out what that is....ask a professional for advise about what the best thing in this situation is. Again, I will say that this isn't just a bump. You've described being ready to leave so many times, there's been cheating and emotional and physical abuse. I suggest a seperation, some distance to give you both room to think, room to breathe, even if it's only a seperation of personal space in the parents guest house. But, as so many have said, if there is physical abuse, then leave. If there is physical abuse, call the police. If there is an escalating violence, then get away from it and keep your kids away from it, do whatever is neccessary to keep them away from all abuse. blessed be OP
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
I'm not defending violence or cheating but yall are jumping the gun and blaming the man when it very well could be the woman causing the violence or could be an equal part. But in yall mind it ok to be a violent women. yes or no?
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
Again you say He He He is violent with no proof how do you know it's not her? You don't read you just assume. The problem yall are so anti-man you blind yourself and make up stuff. I'm the one trying to reason while yall make up stuff and are on a witch hunt. I think yall in your sick selfish minds are trying to breakup a relationship that could work.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
Aquadave, I'm not here to argue with you, you can reason all you want about cheating and beating, it's fine that you have your own opinion. :) This is for the OP, you know how the abuse is going, OP, my suggestion for you is to not be in the same house as he is, if he's violent/physically abusing you. If he's physically violent to you, OP, and you're the one not at the home--working--how do you know for sure he won't lose his temper around the kids? For example, OP, you brought up when he kept calling you to yell at you (to the point you had to leave your work), he was not working so presumably he's at home; taking care of the children, no? That's for me a red flag, because if he's losing his temper around his kids to be calling you when you're at work. When I was a fully stay-at-home mum; I was so fixed on taking care of my kid that I didn't have time to be calling my husband and yelling at him at work every time I got reminded of something crappy he did to me...::smh:: (or vice versa, my husband never called home to yell at me too when he's pissed off). Please don't make physical abuse to be the norm in your household, your children deserve so much better than that. Good luck, OP.
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
I want to hear yalls reasoning on this. Once a cheater always a cheater!!! Once a beater always a beater!!!! Is there no exceptions for these or is the exception only for women or only for men or only for cheating or only for beating.
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
Nowhere in this post does it say "He hit her" don't blame that fully on him. If he's the one without a job then more than likely he's the one taking of the kids. Nowhere does it say he's a bad dad. with what was said in the post he is the proper one to raise the kids. Totally wrong of yall to jump to conclusions and blame the man. What if she's the violent one here? What about when MOM beats? That's ok for the kids? Right? I know too many crazy women that will throw down at the drop of a hat. Some times it's the man some times it's the woman Some times it's both it doesn't say here so I'll assume mutual. too many times I said leave but they both realize mistakes and I think it can be fix.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
It's physical abuse? I got caught in the back-forth that I totally missed that one. I changed my mind about staying around...uh, physical abuse is a huge NO-NO for me, it's not just 'bump' in the road, and I have to disagree with Aquadave about dad having custody for children when dad is physically abusing the mom (even vice versa, any physical abuse is NOT OK). Just like I don't condone her for cheating on him because he's an unstable provider, I don't condone him physically abusing her and harassing her at work just because she cheated on him. He needs to leave her, don't stay and beat her. Sorry OP, since this has turned into physical abuse, you need to leave him, yes, it's for your safety and the children too. I've known 2 men intimately with abusive father. One of them turned out similarly as his father because of the same set of mentality, all he thinks is all girls are sluts and they probably not gonna appreciate you anyway so use them as sluts. He's in and out of jail; have been addicted to all sort of different drugs (a miracle really that he's still alive) while his brother is complete opposite of the father because he felt so much for mum being beaten every time he got into a jealous mood and drank too much....I mean, there's always chance that your kid will turn out ok like the 2nd guy, but no, do you really want to subject them the scene of physical abuse and take the chance of them thinking it's something normal? No. Is there anyway you can contact your parents/family/good friends close by and get settled until you can go back to work (it seems you are capable of earning your keep)? If he's violent, I'd definitely look into having the court decide on supervised visitation.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
It's one line, the past year it's turned from veerbal to physical abuse.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
calm down dave, are you ok? I mean, you're so mad with the OP to the point you'd rather the father have custody because OP moral (you said she has none-moral-in your post no.9?). I don't condone cheating whatsoever, never cheated before and been the one cheated on (not a great experience at all) and as a mother and wife; I know that while I'm not perfect, if my husband ever cheated (and I would leave him for that); I'd still want to be co-parent with him because our kids deserve both parents who love them although they're not together anymore and whoever has the more stable household should have custody of the children...just because my spouse cheated and he's an ex, it doesn't mean he can't still be an awesome father; he may suck as a husband, but not necessarily as a father...that's just mho though, everyone else may think differently :) Somehow I kind of think you're taking your own personal experience with females who cheated on you or seen someone close to you being cheated on? OP, I understand the whole financial security thing when it comes to finances in a partnership/marriage/family life, especially when you have 3 children in 6 years. Half of that time, you probably spent child rearing-pregnant; it's full-on mummyhood (ha, I totally know how that feels)...therefore you probably was depending on him to be the main provider especially if you're stay at home mum, daycare is expensive. Got it. There's a possibility that he will stay the way he is, he may change interest in any field of work every year therefore he won't be invested long enough in a company to have any kind of security for old age (you know the 401k, retirement fund, etc), if this keeps on going on (I've known men like that, he's in his 50s, barely making it due to his changes of job/dream and well, fortunately for him, he's got no wife and kids so he's only got himself to worry about) you will have to carry possibly more than 50% financial obligation on yoru shoulder. Your husband is who he is. You can't change who he is...If you're not happy with him being incapable to provide emotional and financial security, then you probably should've left sooner (you did say you're contemplating it so much in the past), but his lack of stability in being a good provider is still not an excuse for you to cheat. :) And being cheated on will bear a long mark, I don't know how he could stay, I wouldn't be able to. But he wants to stay; of course, you guys need some work on trust-issue, loyalty has been broken; and if you guys want to stay together, I strongly suggest to go through couples counseling to build trust, learn to communicate with each other (what a disconnect in communication when he thinks everything is ok and you wanted to leave so many times!), so you can voice your unhappiness to him and vice versa and find a way to compromise between you two with the help of a professional. My suggestion as for the finances, if you're staying, OP, you have to accept that he may not ever change, he may stay fickle, and in return would sacrifice any short-lived financial security in the future because he may find a different interest in a couple of years. And then you will have to figure out a way where you contribute at least (or more than) half of the income to the family. It's gonna be tough to be away from the children because usually during such early years of childhood; moms are generally put in the position of primary caretaker..but if you're staying together and he's contributing financially; you may have to sacrifice that experience to bring the bread to the table. Talking from a personal experience, truck driving is a tough trade, it's hard to find local job that pays well, he may have to go over the road to establish himself (I know the trade very well, having worked around them and having my in-laws in the trade as well). And, if he goes over the road, he'll be barely at home; so it's gonna be tougher if he doesn't have any trust in you already...I insist in counseling definitely. Lastly, imho, staying in an unhappy marriage for only children's sake = futile. Don't do it. If you don't have any fight left in your to preserve the marriage, really, don't use your children as an excuse to not saunter to see what's out there for you. Perhaps this is not a relationship that's worth fighting for too; you may want to take a hard look/thought about this. Think it over and make your decision. Good luck. P.S. I don't see where there's violence in this post, is there? I mean, aside from very very unwise decision for him to harass you via phone when you're working..which caused you to leave work and it's totally important for you to keep working because of him not working, someone gotta bring food home.
Silje Silje 5 years
Any kinds of abuse screams "Leave him". Do it today. Good luck to you and your children. 
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
Ok calm down. it looks like we both think this can work out but not easily. I never said it wouldn't need work from the hubby. Read her last line both their folks want this to work and they call it a "bump", few people listen to older people that have knowledge.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
I don't defend it, I agree it's wrong. And the fiasco started a long time before the cheating. This couple has a serious disconnect...he thought the relationship was good, she's been ready to leave him time after time after time. I agree, that if you're not happy you leave....completely! I agree that it would be great for the kids to see them work through issues instead of giving up. I agree she made a horrible mistake and she knows it. And I agree that if they can make things work, then the best situation for their kids is in a solid, stable household....they don't have that. And the fact that dad says he forgives but then throws it up every time they argue means that he hasn't forgiven. I agree that that isn't a process that happens overnight. But I do say that there is a specific process for rebuilding the trust, and I don't hear in her post, that they have any idea what that process takes more than just time. I don't know if they can work it out...depends on whether they want to. She's cheated and he's proven he can't be depended on to work and support his kids and family. I don't care how much of a dreamer you are, McDonald's is always hiring and when you have three kids you can't afford to not work. You can't afford to dream about what can be better at the expense of supporting your kids. You can't afford to indulge your own restlessness and dissatisfaction if it means your kids don't have as stable a home as possible. In that case, you work and look for something better at the end of your work day. This is about much more than a poor economy....this is about a guy who has some kind of unresolved issue that is affecting his marriage and family. I hope his training as a truck driver bears fruit, but at this point he has a proven record of instability and his making a serious effort to correct that is essential. And when someone cheats it takes both partners to be fully engaged in the process of healing the damage and rebuilding the trust. It doesn't matter how transparent she is with her actions....her phone, her computer, her schedule....if he can't demonstrate to her the forgiveness (and yes that is a process and takes time), by not calling her and harrassing her at work to the point where she loses a job, and he can't keep throwing it up when they they argue.....if those things don't stop there is no possible way to get past the cheating. I absolutely think they need a counselor to correct the cheating issue and to get onto the right process. But for them to be alright is going to take a lot more than just getting past the cheating. That's just the beginning. And the physical abuse may make it impossible. It may be one boundary too would be for me. I've experience a lot of abuse in my life....childhood, work issues (food service is rampant with emotional abuse, and in my days, with sexual harrassment also), and the only response to it is to refuse to accept it. Draw that line in the sand, and refuse to accept anyone, mommy, daddy, anyone stepping over it. And if they do, then the transgressed against is absolutely justified in protecting themselves and their kids against the transgressor, no questions, no excuses. And that line about dad keeping the can't support himself, let alone his kids. And morality is about more than just punishing and blaming people who make mistakes. It's about recognizing when your behavior is wrong and correcting it. If every person who transgressed morally was considered irreparably immoral, we'd be an entire planet of immoral humans....and we're not. Immorality is about making that mistake and then justifying it and continuing it. She hasn't done that. We are not defined only by our mistakes and weaknesses, but also by our ability to correct them.
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
Never defend cheating, it's wrong. She started this fiasco by cheating, she understands and admits she made a mistake so yes she needs to fix this and I believe it can be fixed. if some one cheats in a relationship it is fully their fault!!! you grow some balls and leave if you're not happy you do not cheat!!! He said he forgave her. Now it's rebuild trust and that is not easy it will not happen over night. It would not be damaging to the kids if the kids see parents go through struggles but work through problems instead of giving up. She made a horrible mistake and she knows it. Any other time I say once a cheater always a cheater. I think she is an exception and they can work this out but I don't think it'll be easy. No mater what kind of crap yall want to say, Mama and Daddy raising the kids together is the best way. We do not live in a perfect world but the attitude "when something isn't easy give up" is stupid. I think they can work this out, but if yall think she should leave it would be best to let the dad keep the kids since she has none and can't teach the kids morals
pbear89 pbear89 5 years
ChrissyLee's right, it would be healthier for your kids for you to be separated and happy. It would be healthier for you too. Abuse is never okay. And I know it seems like every kids dream to have there mom and dad stay together, but not when mom and dad are yelling all the time and they see him abuse you. I grew up with that. I hit a point where I begged my mother to leave to get away from all the screaming and having to pick her up off the floor when things got really ugly. The abuse only tends to escalate. Plus the children tend to get the short end of the stick...when parents spend so much time arguing they miss out on time that could be spent enjoying their children.  Get yourself out before things get bad. It really is the best thing for all involved. 
henna-red henna-red 5 years
"she needs to fix it". No one partner in a relationship can fix takes both, no matter what the issue. Cheating happens for a lot of different reason. People don't get what they want of need, don't address the lack with their partners, or try to and are unsatisfied with the results....and they go outside of the relationship to find what they want or what they need, or what they're feeling they're missing. It never works....doesn't fill that gap in their lives, because , as you say, they haven't tried to work things out, or they haven't tried enough.....or they have tried and it didn't work. Most partners who've been cheated on think that a therapist or counselor is blaming them for their partner's cheating when they hear that. Blame doesn't get you anywhere. Sitting on opposite corners pointing fingers and saying "it's your fault, you fix it" doesn't get you anywhere. It didn't work when we were kids, or teenagers, or young doesn't work now. In order to fix these serious issues, we have to understand what the lack is we're feeling, and address it....with our partner. And yes, that absolutely can mean counseling to help us with the skills and tools we don't have in order to first, heal it, and then maintain the understanding, maintain the altered approach to dealing with tension, stress, and hardship that most of us face at some time or other. When relationships break up because of cheating, it is very rarely only one partner or other who is at fault....there is a lack of communication, a lack of respect, a lack of understanding and often a lack of caring about the other partner's fears, frustrations, needs, desires........ This is a very young couple who jumped into a family and relationship and were obviously not prepared. And "fixing" the situation is never about one person blaming the other for their actions, their behaviors, but about taking reponsibility, as a couple , for whatever issues need to be addressed. Not everyone can do that....not every couple can get to that place. Unfortunately, sometimes, the "fix", is divorce. And if either partner gets to a place where they don't want to continue trying to "fix" what's wrong, what's not working, then there's not a thing to do but accept that. Getting to a place where physical abuse, mental abuse is damaging each other and damaging the kids, can be very hard to get beyond, or even to want to get beyond. Sometimes what you need is just for the abuse to stop, and you don't want to chance it every happening again....and the best way to do that is to give up the relationship. Whatever happens with this couple as a couple, they will be co parenting their kids for a long time, so they need to learn the skills to do that....whether it's as a couple together, or as single parents.
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
This bothers me, yall immediately assume it's the man doing the hitting. How do you know she's not doing the hitting or it's mutual? Another thing lots women do not want a man who wants to do better, who wants to be somebody and support their family better. They want that boring guy who will punch the same time clock for 40yrs bring in the same pithily check then complain how they have a nowhere life and he such a bore them you leave for the reasons you wanted him in the first place. It's clear that when things get tough women quit and give up on their marriage not willing to work things out. yall got to keep in mind times are tough and she is the cheater. she started this chain reaction and she needs to fix it. This couple needs counseling
poindexterregan poindexterregan 5 years
Leave him. Physical abuse is totally unacceptable. He's only been using you for years now anyway. He'll never change and get a steady job because he doesn't have to, you always pick up the slack for him. The only time he goes to work is when you threaten to leave him, and then he keeps the job only long enough for you to deceive yourself that this time it'll be different. It won't. I know it's hard with three kids, but your family is supportive and can help you out there. You're already supporting your family yourself anyway, what do you need him for? You can do much better than this guy.
ChrissyLee ChrissyLee 5 years
Physical abuse? Done.  You have to get out.  A man who hits you once will do it again when he get's away with it.  And you need to protect your children.  Seeing this happen or even just hearing it is not healthy for them.  Kids know when things are not alright between mom and dad and when it's this extreme it's usually better for them to see you apart and happy.  Also think about the example your setting for them about acceptable behavior.  You've done wrong as well, but the level he's taken it to is beyond.    
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
So he's a dreamer trying to do the best he can to get the best job he can to support the family, he sounds like an asshole! You cheated on him and you wonder why he's upset. At this point you should be kissing his butt and doing every and anything to resecure his trust. "I just want my kids to be happy" that is such a female cop-out, No you don't you want a new life,and drag your kids along, not for them but you. you want peaches and cream. This economy is tough and everybody is struggling. I do not condone physical violence at all for either man or woman. Yall need a long talk but you need to accept your part of blame then things might get better
henna-red henna-red 5 years
This is much more than a bump, it's a very destructive behavior and pattern, for everyone involved. I'm sure your parents are thinking about their grandkids having a happy two parent home.....but that's not what they have. And bluejay is soooooo right on about those kids internalizing everything that is wrong between their mom and dad. It's just not healthy or happy for those kids to live in the middle of a war zone. Much better for them if mom is ok on her own and dad is ok on his own, with both co-parenting from their seperate happy homes and lives. That may seem counter intuitive, but it's true. And you have the voice of experience above. You know, most kids end up blaming themselves for the issues that their parents have. It's not a reasonable response or something that makes any kind of's an emotional response, part of that internalizing of issues that kids do. And what are they learning while you two fight and continue this disfunctional, destructive pattern? They're learning how to do exactly the same thing. Mode something else for them. Make better choices, demonstrate better choices, show them how to do something and be something better. And if you don't know how to do that, then, as bluejay says, therapy, therapy, therapy. Look into social service, a church or house of faith, family services....there are resources available, but if you're struggling financialy, then you have to make more of an effort to find them. Some of the large hospital have community outreach and services available for little or nothing for under and uninsured people, but they don't always advertise those services. You have to do the phone work, and ask. Darlin, this isn't about what your friends and family say or want....what do you want? What do your kids need? What is the best, healthiest thing you can do? Figure that out, and go from there. blessed be, good luck
bluejay17 bluejay17 5 years
He didn't forgive you if he keeps bringing it up. When you truly forgive someone you make like a vow to completely forget about the thing that happened. It seems like you guys need lots and lots of therapy, to overcome this bump and make your relationship better, to forgive each other, heal and move past this. Also, you don't tell us why he losses his jobs, but maybe he needs therapy for that also. This is a very tricky situation, with you having three kids and all. I remember when I was little my parents used to fight a lot. That's kind of a constant memory in my mind. That marked me for the rest of my life, I remember wishing and praying they would separate so that my sister and I could live without all the constant fighting. I tell you this because all the separating and fighting may be really hurting your children. You guys need to decide this, if you're going to remain together then you need to stop the fighting, and begin therapy, this can not become a vicious circle where you leave and then get back together, or you threat to leave and never do it every once in a while. You both need to make this happen. Seems like you both need some time apart to work on your issues and give a fresh start to your relationship, and you definitely need the help of a professional for this. The best for your children is not to stay together for them in an unhappy relationship, they need to see their parents in a stable relationship, well behaved and civil to each other, even if they are not together. Children pick up the way they fight and overcome their issues from what they see in their parents. The best of luck to you.
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