He’s a bad husband but the kids love him. Help.

He’s a bad husband but the kids love him. Help.
He’s a bad husband but the kids love him. Help.

During our marriage, my husband of twenty years has screwed around, lied and taken drugs – and I’m angry because I know he’s at it again. That said, he’s a loving father to our twin teenage girls, is likeable and fun and our social life stems from him. This is relevant because I have no family in Queensland and no friends because I work from home.

So my question is, if I kick him out will I be better off? I know I will have to live with overwhelming guilt for separating him from the girls. They love him to bits (he is the ‘fun one’). He says he loves me but it’s rubbish and his betrayals are constant. What do I do? Lola

There’s only really one answer I can give you, my friend. It doesn’t matter that he’s the life of the party or a great dad or your social link to the outside world. You’ve put up with 20 years of his crap and you need to get out of this marriage. Not just because he has zero respect for you or your feelings, but because you’ve got two impressionable young women watching every move you and your husband make. And by letting him stay and screw around and lie over and over, you’re modelling to your girls that it’s okay for men to treat them this way. And it’s not. It’s just NOT. It’s the last lesson you want to teach them.

If you take this path, it’ll be rocky and traumatic for all of you. You need a good counsellor to be a sounding board. You’ll need to make new friends and carve out a new social life and create a support network you trust, which is going to take time. You’ll have to make it abundantly clear to your girls that it’s not about them or anything they did, but they might well put up a fight or put you through hell as the ‘fun parent’ vacates. But you know what? I reckon down the track they’ll love and respect you more for it, and you’ll have a crack at a life that doesn’t revolve around constant secrets, lies and pain.

Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. fee 7 years ago

    My sister’s experience from when she finally decided to leave her husband in 2004. He had been her first love, they met when they were both 16, married 2 years later and their first daughter 2 years after that – textbook on the outside, on the inside he was manipulative and handy with his fists. Her daughters were 7 and 13 when she finally plucked up the courage – they had already witnessed too much.
    Cue 10 years later, the eldest is with ‘her first boyfriend who is controlling and handy with his fists” it pains me to see my niece being treated like this but she seems bound to him in the way my sister was to her husband. The youngest is now 18, a fine young girl with an independent streak who knows she has options of getting out of a situation she doesn’t like (she has already broken the heart of her first love when he said he didn’t want her to go to university – she’s chosen one 100mile away)

    So please please please think of your girls, behavious speaks louder than words and you are their mentor.

    Good luck

  2. Anon 7 years ago

    You’re teaching your daughters to be doormats, to accept this behaviour from their future husbands/partners… is that really the life that you want for them?

    As hard as it is, it does get better after leaving.. I would move near your support networks (you’re going to need it).. unless they are interstate and he is prepared to fight you in court.

    Can you live with this for another 5 years, 20 years? You shouldn’t have to. Life is out there to be lived and you are missing it living with someone who treats you as if you’re disposable!

    YOU are valued and loved and that is the first thing you need to learn before understanding you deserve better and kicking him to the kerb.

    Good luck!

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