He is so good at gaslighting me I began to doubt reality, and would move on feeling betrayed.

I’m not sure if I’m coming or going at the moment, but getting my thoughts down seems the only thing I can do at the moment to try and make sense of what’s happening. I’m not sure anyone will read this but it helps to get things down and in some sort of order.

My husband and I have been together for 24 years married for 22. We are both 47. We have three amazing kids 21,19,17. It’s been a marriage where we have had many ups and downs but largely I’d say we were happy except for one thing. I was always suspicious that he was up to something. I don’t even mean women as I have little evidence of this – yet. I mean just generally shady. He would always exaggerate his stories, delete messages from his phone, keep it locked and away, manipulate the truth, tell white lies and make up stories to get out of occasions he didn’t want to attend with such ease it left me wondering if he can lie that easily am I missing something.

From early on in our marriage he was working away and I discovered phone bills where he would be texting women through the night. I found condom wrappers in his wash bag – he denied it. I found viagra he denied it. He is so good at gaslighting me I began to doubt reality and would move on feeling betrayed and bitter but staying with him. He took to his bed once claiming he was ill – actually he had been sacked for stealing which came out later when he couldn’t hide it any longer.

My daughter was 10 when she found cocaine hidden in the ashtray of his car.

Again he lied and said it was something for his diabetes. My daughter is now almost 22 and has asked me repeatedly about that incident. Skip forward some years and eighteen months ago I was driven to look at his apple watch as I had seen him delete countless messages and clear apps from his phone. He had an Apple Watch and I guessed he wasn’t as meticulous at cleaning that. Low and behold texts from a woman the previous night apologising for running late. He had allegedly been to meet friends the night before. I confronted him only to discover this woman was his drug dealer. He admitted it as if it was the most normal thing in the world. He was using cocaine regularly. I threw him out – however after 3 months he wore me down with promises of being a changed man and how he couldn’t live without us and he’d change and do anything to make things right, he was depressed and he told me he had been diagnosed as bipolar – which again was a lie and he now denies ever saying.

Skip forward another 18 months. We were sleeping in the same bed however there is no intimacy. He has erectile dysfunction which he blames on me for being no good in bed and cold, and when I asked him if it was my physical appearance that was the problem he remained silent. I asked him a further two times and both times he remained silent. So hurtful.

On Friday we were at a family party where I discovered that there is a list of ‘things we don’t tell Anna’.

His sister who works for him in a tiny family business had too much to drink and told me he was no good and she could write a book on him. I discovered that his father is violent with his mother, also uses drugs and prostitutes and as a result my husbands siblings don’t speak to him . I was made to have his parents for Christmas Day lunch as ‘they didn’t have other plans’. I felt sorry for them and didn’t see my own parents but rather had his parents at my table with my kids unaware of the horrors of what was going on. I didn’t confront my husband on Friday. I came home and went to bed but lay awake all night. What a mug I am.

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On Saturday morning I told him I had finally had enough. After an argument he left. He is staying at his brother’s house. He is now ringing me many times a day in tears , threatening suicide, telling me he has nowhere to go and because of major financial problems with his business we are going to be penniless and can’t afford to be apart. My children have said they have lost respect for him. He has made no attempt to speak with them about any of this and is furious I have spoken with them. My two daughters are at university but my son is home with me and doing his A levels. He has heard everything and messaged his sisters for advice. I have always been open with them and I have told them that their dad has been caught out lying to me again. I think they pity me which is awful.

I like to think I’m a smart, intelligent, reasonably attractive woman, but I now feel that everyone sees me as a doormat including my own children.

He has nowhere to live and cannot afford to rent anywhere so I am now facing the prospect of selling my beautiful home because of his actions and choices. I can’t cry, I’m numb and empty. I’m even having thoughts of taking him back for an easier if miserable life. I have devoted my life to my family so that he could concentrate on his business. I have a part time job where I would never get a mortgage and would never be able to afford to buy or rent anywhere. I don’t have any savings. What do I do. I know I need to start a life without him and rebuild myself but I literally have nothing.
Any advice as I don’t know where to begin.

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