Dear Dr. Archer,
My husband is 51 and has been smoking marijuana since he was 13. He says it does no harm to his body.
In the past few years I've lost my mother, mother-in-law, two aunts, two uncles and now my 51 year old brother is dying from emphysema. My husband has watched these loved ones die a horrific death, gasping for air continuously. He says he does not have an addiction to his pot, but no telling what else he keeps secret from me.
He has become extremely verbally abusive and makes threats; his words are like knives in my heart. We haven't had a sex life for a number of years. I can't stand the thought of him touching me when he is abusive.
He has had many affairs -- too many to count, and I'm so emotionally tired of him, his abuse and his drug use. I have told him this, and yet he refuses to leave. What do I do?
Good to hear! You're ready to put his horrific behavior behind you and stand up for yourself. You’re doing the right thing, let’s get started.
The first thing you need to do is talk with a good family attorney. The first consultation should be free. Tell her your circumstances, your wants and then make sure you follow her advice. She may want you to get a protective order, which would give you a better chance of remaining in your home while he is forced to move.
IF YOU ARE GENUINELY FRIGHTENED of your husband, forget the attorney and talk to your area women's shelter. They will guide you through the process, following the laws within your state. They will help you get an attorney, the protective order and the divorce.
Cetty, once he is gone, immediately change the locks of your home. Also, change your phone number, and if you have a cell phone, change that, too. Use your answering machine or voicemail to screen any calls from uncertain numbers.
After the split, never meet with him alone, no matter how nice he is, no matter how much he says he'll change, no matter what. Having a friend stay with you for awhile is also a good idea.
I want every woman or man who has been abused to heed the words of Charles Jones: "Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be."
Live by those words, Cetty. Look towards your future and make the most of every day. I sincerely wish you much success!