I am 42 and my husband is 56. We have a loving son who is 12.
My husband has always been very jealous. He claims it's due to his first marriage that lasted 14 years. She was sleeping with his cousin and then wound up pregnant by another man by the time his divorce was finalized. This is why he claims to behave the way he does.
The marriage started out with jealousy. I could deal with it and thought that most men are jealous and dismissed it. Over the years it has escalated. He works from 7AM until 3PM from Monday to Friday. During those hours I see my best girlfriend and we will do chores around her farm, maybe even lunch, and just enjoy each other's company. Since he accused me of being a lesbian, I now feel I can't even tell him when I do see her because now he badmouths her on a daily basis. I only have one friend because he has made me get rid of the rest. I won't lose another one over him.
I am forbidden to go anywhere after my son gets off the bus at 4PM. If I wear make-up or stop for lunch at a bar he calls me a slut because sluts wear make-up and go to bars. I encourage him to go out with his friends and then he accuses me of not caring about him. He times how long I am gone. If I wave to the neighbor that's another fight. If I say its red he insists its purple. I ask to go somewhere he will go somewhere else. He never has my back. Just the other day I had a meeting with a man from the PA labor board (never met the man, other than a phone conversation), and he didn't want me to go, stating that the man only wants to meet me so he can try to have sex with me. When he says these crazy things I tell him that's not regular thinking of the average man. He responds by saying that any man would agree and that I'm wrong.
I'm starting to lose touch with reality and find myself starting to believe him. Yesterday he got abusive for the first time because I waved to the neighbor, and again he claimed we were having an affair. If I didn't have my son I would have left him long ago. I understand my son picks up on his dad's abusive behavior towards me, and I don't want to ruin the rest of his life. I have no family since the passing of my dad. My four brothers and sisters discarded me after not feeling my dad was fair with money distributions. All I have is a wonderful friend and her family and my great son of course. I love my husband but can't go on like this. I feel as though my body is rotting from the inside out…I'm a shell. I don't even want to go out in public anymore, and when I do I have severe panic attacks.
My husband wants to get help, but where do I start and what are the odds that he can or will change? I am so tired and don't know if I can even continue to fight for anything anymore! Please help me. Where do I go from here?
You have described a classic case of domestic abuse. It is not normal, jealousy is not an excuse, and it's against the law.
You say that you'd have left him long ago, had it not been for your son. Well, you've noted that your son is now copying his father. You will be doing the boy a favor by leaving the marriage.
Most men are not like your husband. It is not too late. You can find a man who will treat you with respect and care, as an equal partner rather than as a harshly treated domestic animal. Then that man can become a role model for your son, so when he grows up he won't repeat his father's unfortunate pattern. Also, you will be doing your husband a favor. He is constantly unhappy, because he is scared. All his abusive behavior is because he is terrified that you'll leave him if he gives you a chance. Guys do all that controlling if inside they feel that no one could possibly love them for themselves. Any man must be better than him, so he must put you in a box and keep you from any chance of being stolen from him.
While this approach works, he is not going to change it. The one hope of him doing something about himself is consequences for his actions. If he loses you because of the way he has treated you, then he may be forced to make a reappraisal. But whether he does or not is his business, not yours.
There are resources to help you to plan your escape, and to put it into process. Visit the Coalition Against Domestic Violence