Retired Despot

25 Nov

Letterbalm Angry Old Man with GoateeDear LetterBalm: My husband retired three years ago, and he’s turned into a veritable dictator. He’ll be 70 in two months, and he shows no sign of slowing down – I mean, slowing down his demands and meddling. He’s always been controlling, but now he wants to be involved in everything I’m doing (and when we do things together, he dictates how we do it to the last detail). In groups he’s domineering and bullying. Nobody wants to be around him, and I’ve decided to leave him. I’ve got only one opportunity to speak my peace before he starts bellowing. What should I say?

–Done With My Marriage 

Ms. L.B. assumes you have ruled out physical and psychological reasons for your husband’s behavior. Have you suggested joint counseling and attempted to carve out endeavors for yourself, while telling your husband he cannot do them with you? If all this has failed and he persists in getting his own way, you must consider the endgame for your marriage – discreet legal advice and a quiet review of your finances to protect your interests. After this, if you’re genuinely feel there is no hope for your relationship, you will, indeed, have only one chance to tell your husband you’re leaving him. Your lawyer can advise you about your safety and whether you can order your husband to leave the home. Review your statement with your attorney, practice privately and have your points fixed firmly in your mind:

Brutus, do me the courtesy of listening. You’ve thwarted me every step of the way in our marriage.  You’ve always been a difficult and controlling man, but I’ve been willing to overlook your lapses in behavior because you were at the office all day. But now, it has become impossible. You won’t consider joint counseling, you won’t let me have a moment to myself, you bully and bellow. I am fed up. I have consulted a lawyer, and I’m seeking a divorce. You have brought this on yourself. It is regrettable, but it is what I must do to save my own life. Gather some of your things and sleep somewhere else tonight. Tomorrow you will move out. No arguments, no yelling. My sister and her husband are on their way over.  

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