Permission To Jump?

Dr. Darcy,

I have been married for 9 years and was very much in love with my wife, but for years now she has been very emotionally abusive.  She calls me names and puts me down in front of our friends. She tells me she wants me to die. She says she will be happy knowing I am burning in hell. I have recently developed very strong feelings for anther woman who cares for me a lot. What should I do?

ANSWER

You don’t need someone with a PhD to tell you what to do.  You know what to do.  I suspect you’re writing because now that you’ve found yourself a comfy parachute, you want my endorsement to escape Mrs. Evil and to be saved by Ms. Parachute.  Unfortunately, it’s not going to work that neatly.

The abusive relationship that you currently find yourself in is 50% your fault.  I’ll have the feminists all up in arms about my position on this, but still, someone needs to call it accurately, even if that means standing by an unpopular opinion.  My concern is that unless you do some DEEP interpersonal work on yourself in-between relationships, you’re going to recreate dysfunctional patterns in your relationship with Ms. Parachute.

Refrain from jumping into another relationship for a while.  Get yourself into therapy, and not with someone who’s going to enable you to become a lifetime victim, rather, someone who will hold you accountable for your role in the relationship w/ Mrs. Evil. Uncover the aspects of your past that have made you vulnerable to being in an abusive relationship.  We’re all vulnerable to engaging in behaviors that aren't good for us, whether it’s a predisposition to becoming an addict, to becoming anxious, to becoming depressed, or to seeking love from manipulative and sadistic people.

Ending a relationship is like purging your home of clutter:  Sure, it looks great for a couple of weeks, but if you don’t identify the day-to-day habits that created your mess, your home is bound to return to it’s normal state of functioning before long. I know you've been hurt for years and years and you're likely starving for some positive attention, but this is not a time to behave like a serial monogamist.  Step away from women and step in front of the mirror, or you'll recreate your current relationship again and again.