Dear Annie: My cheating husband said he would change but he’s still emotionally abusive

Dear Annie: Approximately seven years ago, my husband was unfaithful. I filed divorce papers, but he asked that we not go through with it, and he made promises that things would change. But since then, nothing has changed.

I asked him for a divorce again at the end of 2021, but finding an inexpensive lawyer was very difficult, so I did not press the issue.

My husband is emotionally and mentally abusive. He does not dedicate any family time to our kids or to me. His father recently also separated from his wife and is constantly in my house. I HATE HIS FATHER. My authority and my decisions do not matter when they are together, and I feel like a slave in my own house. My kids see my frustrations, and it’s so unfair to them and to me.

I just want full custody of my children and the house. Our biggest issues are financial because my husband has no responsibility and no concerns when it comes to borrowing and paying back loans. You should know that, despite this, I really do care for him as the father of my children. However, my love as a wife just cannot overcome his unfaithfulness and overall treatment of me. He is a good person, but his family gets in our business, and of course, he listens, and that has only destroyed us. Please give me the best advice you can. — Nothing Gets Better

Dear Nothing Gets Better: This sounds like a very difficult situation for you and your children. You must seek professional counseling for yourself and your marriage. Emotional and mental abuse are never OK and must stop. If he does not acknowledge this at all, you might want to seek a divorce attorney. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. So you must do things differently now.

Dear Annie: I wanted to give you a different perspective on something. I read your response to a person who signed off as “Homeless.” In your response you stated, “I feel for you and your boyfriend, but something just isn’t adding up. Federal, state and city laws to help house the homeless don’t appear to be working in your case. If that doesn’t work, perhaps you could seek legal help.”

I am a social worker and have been for more than a decade. Unfortunately, this does add up. It is not uncommon for people to be on housing lists for the better part of a decade. Resources are slim, and the supports utilized for these cases are underfunded and can be disorganized. This writer I think is describing her situation well; seeking legal help (unless you are referring to how the writer lost her house) would also be difficult. You can’t sue for housing. Everyone nationwide is struggling. I just hope you are more mindful in the future that you may not have the lived experience to understand some situations.

You could have been kinder, and I don’t say this as an insult — but as feedback. — Social Worker

Dear Social Worker: Thank you for your important letter. My heart goes out to the young woman and her boyfriend, and the fact that their homelessness does add up, as you put it, is terrible. I was commenting on the system of laws and agencies that have been set up — or not set up — to provide housing and that are leaving this woman and her boyfriend to face a very cold winter without indoor shelter. We all should help the homeless, especially families with small children, and I appreciate your commitment to this important issue.

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