Caroline West-Meads: ‘My husband has become a horrible misogynist’
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Q: I write this knowing my marriage is over. But I am really struggling to understand how my husband can be so blind to his behaviour. He has started voicing horrible misogynistic views and refuses to help around the house.
He has perhaps always had those tendencies but they have escalated recently. It is very upsetting for me and our two teenage daughters. It seems to stem from watching content from an online ‘movement’ set up by men who take umbrage about society ‘favouring’ women.
My husband says he has always felt this way and is no longer putting up with certain things, including my behaviour – although he can’t explain what that is. He says I can either accept it or leave. He also now refers to our home as his and claims that I don’t own a brick of it.
On retirement he got a lump sum which paid off our mortgage. But I have always contributed financially and worked part-time for 13 years while bringing up our children. I now work full-time on a decent wage while my husband is part-time.
I do most of the household chores because it is a battle to get him to do anything, which makes me resentful. What upsets me is how little he cares about the impact of his attitude on me and the children.
Q: I write this knowing my marriage is over. But I am really struggling to understand how my husband can be so blind to his behaviour. Stock image used
A: Your husband seems to have fallen under the influence of a nasty internet phenomenon. Online safety campaign group internetmatters.org calls it ‘The manosphere – a network of online men’s communities against the empowerment of women, who promote antifeminist and sexist beliefs.’
There’s a worrying rise in numbers of men of all ages accessing such sites. Sadly, it could be that your husband is acting in this way because he is unwell; he may be suffering some sort of mental breakdown or he may have a personality disorder (making him more prone to conspiracy theories).
He should see a GP for an assessment and referral to a psychiatrist but is likely to refuse as he doesn’t believe he is the problem. You could also write to his GP to outline his strange behaviour and your concerns. However, it does seem too late to save your marriage as he is treating you appallingly and, not surprisingly, your love for him has died. You say that he is not prepared to ‘put up with your behaviour’ but you do not have to put up with his.
Ending a marriage is very distressing so in the first instance, get help from divorce.wikivorce.com and resolution.org.uk (a network of family law specialists). I am sure that you would be entitled to an equal share of the property. Your children could get support via youngminds.org.uk if they need help to process their feelings towards their father. Internetmatters.org has advice on how to talk to young people about malign internet influences.
DO THESE MESSAGES MEAN HE’S HAVING AN AFFAIR?
Q: A while ago, my husband of 23 years linked his Facebook profile to my work mobile and every now and then I receive his Messenger alerts, which I usually ignore. Recently, I got a few from a lady I had never heard of, detailing a rendezvous on certain dates.
While I’m aware it takes two to tango, I’m too scared to view the whole content. My husband has now said he is going away on one of these dates. However, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t confront him. He may just deny it, and then I’ll have to admit that I read the Messenger alerts. His behaviour towards me has not changed.
Q: A while ago, my husband of 23 years linked his Facebook profile to my work mobile and every now and then I receive his Messenger alerts, which I usually ignore. Stock image used
A: This must be very upsetting for you, I am sorry. Yes, of course, couples should be entitled to privacy and shouldn’t read each other’s messages. However, I think anyone with suspicions that their spouse is being unfaithful would find it hard to refrain from doing so.
In this instance, the alerts are coming to your phone so I don’t think you can be blamed for reading them. I wonder if your husband had forgotten that you can see his messages or perhaps (even subconsciously) he wants to be ‘found out’. So I do think you should confront him.
If, as it sadly sounds, he has been having an affair, please do not let him make you feel guilty about reading the messages. You are not the one at fault. Before you confront him do please ensure that you have some support in place, either a close friend or counselling through relate.org.uk or bacp.co.uk.
If he has been having an affair, you could both seek couples counselling to help you through it. But it’ll be a very painful truth to confront.
If you have a problem, write to Caroline West-Meads at YOU, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY, or email [email protected] You can follow Caroline on Twitter @Ask_Caroline_
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