Common-Law husband just up and left

Started by

My common-law husband of 14 years moved out and left to care for both of his elder parents over a year and a half ago. His dad has dementia, and has declined. Also, three of his siblings are fighting over the parents' estate, with one brother actually having stolen their property with a quit claim deed. My husband has been in and out of court all this time, dealing with the police coming over. The brothers call the cops all the time to try running him off. And now the same brother who stole his parent's property is now filing for guardianship. While all this drama happened, my mother, who was only 67 passed away from cancer. I was her caregiver, but she wasn't really sick until the very end. My husband visited when she passed, but he refused to stay for the funeral, so this whole time, I have been left to grieve by myself, take care of my widowed dad, which has been very hard, and hold down the fort. My husband still pays a lot of our bills, because he gets residual income from insurance sales. He never will come visit, though, and always expects me to drive to him. The last time I went down to see him, we ended up in a big fight, because I wanted him to spend some alone time with me, and I rented a hotel. He refused to stay with me at the hotel, and never would leave his parent's house. He expects me to stay at his parents house 24/7 when I am down there and the house is awful. It's old, decrepit and has roaches and rats. He has a woman that helps him during the week, but she has been flaky lately and keeps calling in sick. My birthday is coming up next week and I asked my husband to come home to visit. He refused and told me that I am going to have to come to him, because he is scared his parents might fall, or need him. I am so lonely and depressed that I can barely function. He always turns things around on me and says that I am losing patience with him. Also, when I went down there last time he said some horrible things to me when we had that fight. He told me that he was pretty much "over" me, because we had been living apart for more than 15 months anyway, and that I was just a selfish b*tch who only goes to the gym and lives in luxury at my dad's house while he is suffering living alone with his parents' house and has no help. He also kicked me out of his parents' house that night, and made me go sleep at the hotel by myself. I ended up begging him back. I am stuck. I love him, and don't want to give up a 14 year relationship, but I am suffering beyond comprehension. His parents will always come first. Me, not so much. What should I do? Am I the one with no patience? He makes me feel like I am doing something wrong. In December it will be two years he has been gone, and he has only come home to visit three times. Also, we are not intimate anymore. He blames me sometimes and says it is because I nag him all the time. He also says it is because he has a lot on his mind. I feel like I am so unattractive now, even though I am only 42 years old, no kids, attractive and try to keep fit. He is 10 years older, quit working out and eats nothing but junk. I do nothing but worry every night about his health and stress. I don't know what to do, and my heart is hurting. Just to add, I do all the paperwork, computer stuff he needs, filing taxes, etc. You name it, I do it. We are four hours apart, but any time he calls me, I drop whatever I am doing and do whatever he tells me to do. I am his personal assistant, always have been. I guess I feel used too.

39 Comments

You feel used? Good perception. You are being used.

You do nothing every night but worry about his health and stress? Good heavens, an attractive, fit 42 year old woman who is not in a committed relationship (and you aren't) should be able to find lots more interesting things to do than that.

This relationship is broken. Is it worth fixing? Doesn't sound like it to me, but if it is to you, consider couple counseling. He won't go? Go to counseling yourself and find out why you are putting up with being used. You deserve better.


Why is it that you 'love' him? He treats you as though you're his mom and he's a spoiled toddler.

Move along. Consider it a life lesson you've learned.
Give.up on him. BTW, "common law marriages" aren't that common. Do you even live in a state.where that occurs? If you don't think of yourself as having a legal tie to him maybe it will be easier to move. Try counseling if you need to have help in breaking off from a guy who has no time for you or any interest in being with you.
Instead of being compassionate, I sense that people are annoyed with me. How strange. I am in counseling., by the way! When you invest 14 years of your life with someone, it takes a while to just up & say "I quit." I don't have any strength right now, physically or mentally.  I just lost my mother a year ago, so not only am I still grieving, but I am also stressed, depressed and scared for my future. My spouse pays for everything. I have my cell phone in his name, we have bank accounts together, and share everything. It will take some time. I need to go back to work, which I haven't in a long time, because he has supported me, and I now take care of my dad now, who is very helpless and an elder himself. The relationship with my spouse used to be fun. We used to always travel, go out, go to dinner, snuggle, etc. He gave it all up for his parents, who are in their late 80s. He always tells me, "Wouldn't you have done the same for your parents?" I tell him of course I would, but I would at least visit more often. My FIL is almost completely bed bound. He wears an adult diaper, has to be spoon fed, and the only one who does anything to help him is my spouse. His siblings, the ones he has a relationship with do not help with the parents at all, even though they live in the same town, about four miles away.  It's in a border town, and everything is done at a turtle's pace there too.  Home health only comes by once every two weeks. All they do is check my FIL's blood pressure & sugar levels. They don't help bathe him, or anything like that. They said in order to get those kinds of benefits, my spouse would have to get a separate order from the doctor. Literally, my spouse is the only one taking care of two people. He  has tried to hire help, and the first woman he found stole a bunch of things from the house, then the second one keeps calling in sick. She hasn't even been there a month, and has already taken off for more than a week. My spouse won't get rid of her. He said he wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. He also is the only one who knows how to give medication to his parents. His sister was left with that responsibility one time, and she ended up giving my FIL's meds to my MIL, and one of the meds was Seroquel. My 86-year old MIL fell on the floor, and the ambulance had to be called. Nobody is reliable down there.  By the way, I am in Texas, which does have common law marriages. I will describe my relationship differently. I am in a long-term relationship of 14 years. We lived together the whole time, minus when he left and never came back. We talk about three times an hour, and he always tells me, "I love you" before he hangs up. It is hard to let go, because I keep thinking about the good times we used to have, plus we have a lot of financial ties together, including shared property. 
Laurieann, I have family in TX and wondered if that's where you were from. It sounds like your husband made a choice (even though the situation did not demand it.)

It sounds like there is a lot of drama there in his family. First, do you want to be a part of that?

I am really sorry about your mom. You made a good point that her loss might be making you afraid of losing anyone else. Instead of thinking about "losing" your husband, why don't you instead start thinking of what you want for yourself, and start tryng to build that life? Just doing one thing at a time to make your house more your space, or getting accounts in your own name...it doesn't need to be one big swoop. Just little steps so that as things progress you will be ok whether he stays where he is or whether he gets his parents' situation under control and comes back.

Your husband has a choice to extricate himself from the situation. There may be assistance for them that would get them help in their home (though I've heard TX is behind in the times when it comes to healthcare programs -- not sure about social services.) He might be in crisis mode and not thinking about your feelings; it is good to give people a little leeway in those situations. I'm about the same age you are, though, and I feel like we are getting to that age with family and our own health where ---- starts to hit the fan, and it is hard to have a partner who can't hold your hand through rough times.
You do know that "common law" was abolished in every State? Since 1979. Far more than 14 years ago

Just so you know...he has no obligations to you. You don't even receive his social security benefit when you reach 65....cause you were not married.

Honestly, I believe that a commitment is marriage....anything else is just fine till he takes a walk.

I believe you are being used....and have been for 14 years. This is just the newest installment..
Info on Common Law Marriage in Texas:

TEXAS

Common Law Marriage: Yes. Requirements: (1) A man and woman who want to establish a common-law marriage must sign a form provided by the county clerk. In addition, they must (2) agree to be married, (3) cohabit, and (4) represent to others that they are married.
Same-Sex Marriage: No
Domestic Partnership / Civil Union: Same-sex and different-sex couples can register a domestic partnership in Travis County. You do NOT need to be a resident of the county to register.
Living Together/Cohabitation: Legal
State Bar Contact – Find A Lawyer: State Bar of Texas
Free or Low Cost Legal Services: Texas Law Help – Family Law
So, what did you expect as a response to what you're describing as basically intolerable? Hang in there? You were encouraged to make a positive move rather than be suffering beyond comprehension. You're right. Others may not be able to comprehend. Find a way to get the finances untangled and you'll start feeling empowered rather than begging to be taken in.
You are in a difficult place in your life now and I do feel compassion for you. You say you care for him yet he isn't meeting your needs and he tells you it's pretty much over between you two but then he tell's you he loves you. I think if he really wanted a relationship with you, he could find time to see you more even if he is taking care of his family. Sometimes couples fall into a situation where they just become a habit with each other and don't really have a true relationship. You can't expect him to fix your problems of loneliness and unhappiness, you must do that. Maybe ask him to set aside a specific time for the two of you to work through finalizing your breakup, to divide the assets up and then get on with your life. Look forward to sharing your life with someone who wants to be with you and stop looking at your past and how things once were between you and him. You are young enough to find a nice partner and enjoy a long, happy life with someone worthy of you.
Vegaslady, I don't expect anything from strangers online. I came on this forum to ask a question, and basically vent like everyone else that posts questions. That is what forums are for. Society as a whole don't understand why women, such as myself stay in miserable situations, like the one I am in. I don't even understand that much, and I am the one going through it. Low self esteem most likely is the root cause. I am thankful to say that I am in therapy now, and hopefully she can help me get the strength necessary to leave. Thank you for your response.


Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support