Despite what the counsellor said about me being negative, I’m starting to have doubts. I think she was wrong. Maybe I am negative but Tom isn’t innocent in all of this, in fact, I’m starting to wonder if I might be in a verbally and emotionally abusive, and controlling relationship and I’m wondering if my relationship with Alice and Katie’s dad was controlling in some ways too, as was the one with Josh’s dad and as I now realise, was my childhood.

The thing is, because of all of this, I don’t know what happens in an equal and loving relationship. I have no plans of having another relationship anytime soon, if ever, but I’d like to know what a ‘real’ relationship should be like. Mine and Tom’s relationship is so far removed from what I think normal and loving looks like.

Our social lives are so different. Tom goes out whenever he wants, spends a fortune each time, goes out even if I am ill and leaves me to cope alone. He tells me going out is the only thing that gets him through living here with me, that it’s something for him to look forward to. We rarely go out together, if we do it always turns into an argument as he gets annoyed about what I want to eat in restaurants because it’s not what he wants me to eat. I never go out without him as I haven’t got any money.

The money situation isn’t fair.  He earns it, he spends it. He didn’t want me working, he wanted me to stay home and look after the children. He gives me money for food, but it’s not enough for a family of six and he then complains that I’m not buying him the steak and other expensive foods he wants. I have to ask for more money from him if I want anything for myself and sometimes he’ll even ask me if I’d like some ‘pocket money’ as if I’m a child rather than an adult. He has spent £12,000 on himself in the last six months. I have spent nothing on me, not a single penny.

Sex or rather, the frequency of it, gets decided by Tom.  As soon as we moved in together, the very day, in fact, he started to refuse to have sex with me. If I tried anything with him he would tell me to get off him and stop hassling him. We go months without sex but if I mention it he gets mad and says I’m pressuring him and that he doesn’t fancy me but he won’t tell me why he doesn’t. I think it must be because I’m fat or ugly, or both.

I do 99% of the childcare. If he says he’ll do it, he does it for a few minutes then puts the TV on and sits watching that. He rarely plays with the kids and never takes them anywhere. If I suggest taking them to the park or swimming he tells me that I can do it and that he’ll stay home and then he has a sleep or watches the TV or goes on the computer. (His admission, he’s always happy to tell me how he’s been able to relax while I’ve been out.)

I also do 99% of the housework. He takes out the bin most days and will wash up maybe once a week but he does no DIY or gardening other than cutting the grass 2 or 3 times a year, so it just doesn’t get done. I’ve said that I’ll cut the grass but he says that I will mess it up as I don’t know what I’m doing. He is very messy and I’m expected to pick up after him. He rarely puts his dirty clothes in the wash basket, he leaves them on the bedroom floor instead and then moans when he has nothing clean to wear or once every 3-4 weeks he will gather it all up and put it in the wash basket. If I’m ill nothing gets done but he’ll moan about the mess rather than help.

Work wise, he works but very often only for half the week. I look after the kids. He thinks my job is easy and that I sit on my bum doing nothing all day.

No matter what the counsellor said and what Tom has been saying, even if I am negative, I just cannot see how this is right. It’s all so unbalanced and always tipped in his favour. I’m starting to think that he’s manipulating and controlling me but what if I’m wrong? How will I ever know for sure?

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