Living With A Controlling Husband

I see a lot of relationships where the male controls the female. It has become normal in their lives, but maybe it shouldn’t be.

I know women who had powerful jobs when they were in their 20s. They loved their careers and were totally independent. Then they met their ‘soulmate’, got married, had children and slipped into how we are ‘supposed’ to live. Woman stays at home and looks after the children, whilst the man provides the financial support.

Gradually, and often quite gently, the woman is brought down, her power taken away, until she feels as though she is quite worthless. She gets no thanks for what she does, and her partner often asks “What do you actually do all day?”

Being a stay at home parent is a hard job. It is mentally and physically draining. The time just flies and has been filled with an endless stream of nappies, toys, food and clearing up. Nothing much does get done, apart from keeping the children alive.

The man sometimes likes it that his wife is stuck at home. He thinks that she can’t ever leave him. He usually controls the money as this reduces the likelihood of her running away. He’ll probably tell her that nobody else would want her and that she has let herself go. She may start going to the gym, to look better again for herself and her partner. This may become a bit of an obsession as she can also get all of her frustrations out.

If she starts to discuss any ideas she has to start a career again, the husband will be unhelpful, and tell her that her idea will not work. Again, he is in control. He believes he knows so much more than her, and that she won’t survive without him, and wants her to believe it too. If she does believe it, then she will probably continue to live under his control for the rest of her life.

If she doesn’t believe it then there’s a chance that she may become brave and do something about the control, control which invariably involves one form, or various forms, of abuse – financial, emotional, verbal or physical..or a combination. If she challenges him, he’ll tell her she’s crazy and will lie about things he’s already said so she thinks she’s going mad. This is often called ‘gas lighting’.

It amazes me that this goes on in this day and age, but it does. It’s not really seen as a ‘bad’ thing. It’s seen as ‘normal’. This controlling behaviour is normalised by a lot of married couples. If they have children, then they will learn that this behaviour is normal.

I disagree. It’s not acceptable for a lot of people. Women should be able to follow their dreams and show their children that this is how they reach happiness. Of course, some women’s dream is to look after their husband and children and they have found their calling. This is beautiful to see. Some may want to do this and have a career too. That is beautiful. Some may love to concentrate on a career that they love more than their family. This is beautiful too, if they are following their passion.

Sometimes it’s so obvious that a couple aren’t compatible anymore, that they’ve grown apart, but they stay together because it’s ‘what you do’. They moan about each other, to other friends, or strangers in the same boat, but will never do anything about the fact.

There is no right or wrong way to live, I just felt I had to talk about a situation that is very common but not really spoken about. Of course, the situation could be reversed and a man can be controlled by his wife, which I will write about in the future, but this article is not about that, although I of course recognise that what I am talking about isn’t the case in every marriage.

It’s a bit of a transitional time for marriage, especially for my generation, who grew up in the 70s and 80s. We were typically brought up in traditional families where the dad worked and the mum looked after the children, and it seemed to work.

Then, women started becoming more independent and working more. There weren’t many divorces when I was young. It was a massive thing if someone’s parents weren’t together. It seems as though divorce rates have risen as women have become more self sufficient. We can do everything a man can do now and don’t really need one. The men know this, and it’s probably why they can start to exert control.

Husbands in their 40s and 50s now, were used to seeing the father in control, but their mothers weren’t as powerful as they are nowadays. So, when they try and emulate the marital relationship they grew up with, it can encounter problems, and end in separation.

This is quite sad for males as they are only copying what they have learnt whilst growing up. Women, on the other hand, are becoming so different to how their mothers were when they were young.

The next generation of men will probably have grown up in a totally different kind of household, where both parents work and take care of the children jointly. They will probably be more encouraging and supportive of their wife’s choice of career, if they have and want one. The days of the controlling husband are numbered, as more and more children are seeing far more equal relationships.

Some women like to have their man provide for them and be in charge, that is good for them. Some don’t. That is good too. Again, there is no correct way of living. These are just my observations on one type of marriage, and there are more to come on different scenarios, including Living With A Controlling Wife. I’d also like to say that I am not blaming the men for acting the way they do, or blaming women for allowing men to control them if it’s not that they want. There is no blame. It is what it is.

Nobody is actually stuck in an unhappy marriage, something can be done about it. Always. It won’t be a bed of roses but everyone is actually free to move. We are not trees.


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