My wife is a parasite and I feel stuck
My wife (37f) and I (38m) and I have been married for 11 years, together for a few years before that, and have known each-other for over 20 years. We met online when she was 16 and still in high school, and I was 17 and just starting college. For the sake of this rant we’ll call her Connie.
Connie and I lived several states away and, at first, there was some attraction on her part – but I just wanted to stay friends. Over several years we grew closer and decided to have a long distance relationship. I was always awkward with girls in high school and it continued into adulthood. With Connie things just felt natural. After a couple years, when we were talking about meeting in person, she destroyed me. She let me know that she had been having multiple other online relationships and one of these men came to meet her and she wanted to be with him.
Looking back, the smart thing to do would have been to end the story there. Nearly a year later she reached out to me, saying she was sorry and that she missed our friendship. I decided to give friendship another chance and, for a while, it worked. She had a couple other relationships. We’d talk and text regularly. But, over time, the old feelings came back. I admitted them to her and she said she felt the same.
We decided to give things another shot. Eventually she came to visit me and then we would alternate visits. We talked about her coming to live with me, and she did. She worked for a national chain store, so the plan was for her to simply transfer locations. She didn’t do that. Instead she quit. After a couple attempts at finding work, she asked if she could stay at home and take care of the house. Cook, clean, etc. I agreed, since we didn’t really have many expenses. She also refused to get her own bank account, instead using mine and calling everything ‘our’ money. Looking back, the red flags are so blatantly obvious – but I was young and in love.
She never cleaned and rarely cooked. Instead we ordered out most of the time, wasting any money I had saved. We got several pets, at her insistence. She begged me for over a year to get her pregnant because she wanted a baby. I said I wanted to get married first, which is what ended up happening. When my daughter was an infant we bought a house in order to have more space. She also wanted to be nearer to one of her world of warcraft friends, who we’ll call Aaron.
It was because of Aaron I learned of her fixating behavior. She will find a male friend online, become ‘besties’ with them, and then eventually find someone else. After Aaron it was Roy. Roy lived further away, but was in a bad relationship with his own wife (ironic) and suicidal. Connie begged me to let him come stay with us until he could get on his feet, admitting she’d already invited him. Defeated, I agreed since I didn’t want to make someone homeless.
He lived with us for a year before he was able to get a job. He is still living with us nearly 9 years later. And to be quite honest it’s because of him I haven’t gone completely insane yet. Connie still barely does any housework. Roy is the one who does the dishes, laundry, and yardwork. All of it. He does not pay rent, but Connie has access to his bank account and regularly spends his money to the point of overdraft. In the interim years I’ve mostly separated my money from her. There is a bank account she does not have access to, with some savings and from which I pay our bills. If I didn’t do this, she would spend me to overdraft as well. Some of my paycheck goes into a shared account for her, which she regularly overdrafts. After Roy lived here for a while she found another man to be friends with and the cycle continued.
We have two children now, and she barely spends any time with them. Preferring instead to smoke weed (it’s legal here) and play video games for the entirety of the day. Sometimes she cooks, sometimes she’ll even straighten up a bit. However she has filled my house to the brim with clutter. Every room has boxes and boxes of useless shit. Some of it untouched.
I knew she had mental health issues when we were dating, but they have gotten worse and, with the use of tik-tok, she has weaponized them against me. Every time I criticize her for ordering stuff we don’t need (such as groceries that we already have, or junk we will never use) she defends herself by saying she has ADHD and it’s a symptom. She probably does have it, but she’s undiagnosed. She won’t go to a psychiatrist for it. Her medical doctor prescribed her antidepressants, which have helped, but not with everything. The thing is, I have plenty of friends with ADHD. They view it as a part of them which needs to be addressed and worked around/through. She sees it as an excuse to do whatever she wants without consequences.
Recently we went on vacation and she asked if her her latest friend, who is recently divorced and looking for jobs in our area, could stay at our house while we were away (though Roy would be there). I agreed, since it felt bad to make him spend several thousand dollars a week on a hotel room. He’s still here, and it’s been weeks. He’s done some Zoom interviews and occasionally does door dash to make extra cash, but he’s still here. We’ll call him Joe.
Connie and I have hit a breaking point and are talking about divorce. After a long conversation she’s admitted she sees nothing wrong with her behavior, and finds it aggravating that I try to ‘fix’ her. I realized then that there is nothing for me in this relationship anymore. She’s also admitted to having feelings for Joe, and he is in love with her.
The problem now is money. We have 60k left on our house and just bought a new car. She wants to keep the house and the car when we split. I’m fine with this because I would rather live somewhere that isn’t full of her garbage and I don’t drive. But she can’t pay for them, and no bank in their right mind would give her a loan to buy me out. Even if they did, she couldn’t pay it on her own (either Roy or Joe or both would be paying for it).
I want to be done with this relationship so badly, but I feel like I’m trapped here. My kids love their school and I don’t want to make them move. I’m more than happy to get my name off of the house and the car, get some money from the equity, and start over. It would be great to take my kids each weekend and actually DO things with them. But I don’t see a path to get there. I feel trapped in my own house, which is becoming increasingly full of my wife’s pets (both human and otherwise) and all of her garbage.
Even though I want out, I still love Connie (in a way) and don’t want to hurt or destroy her – even though it’s probably better than what she deserves. She first broached the topic of divorce, but now she gets sad regularly thinking about it – and is confused at why I am so often upset with her. All of the stress of having her, and Roy, and Joe, and two young children is eating away at me. And I feel ashamed of the divorce. Ashamed that I couldn’t fix her. Ashamed that I couldn’t put my foot down and say no. Ashamed that there are multiple people living in MY house that I don’t want here. I haven’t told my extended family or friends yet, though I am going out with a friend tomorrow and plan to tell him. And we haven’t told the kids either. It’s all eating me up inside, but just typing this out has helped. I hope it wasn’t too bad of a read. And I hope I can get through this situation sooner rather than later.