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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.

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I have a friend who's 68. Her kids have been grown since her 40s. She was married young and felt she needed to stay in a marriage with a man who no longer took her into consideration. He just sat around all day not wanting to do anything. Two years ago she told him she couldn't live with him anymore and he moved in with a son who was single. She has been enjoying life so much. She says she should have done it sooner. You are going to learn how to be alone with yourself. A group of woman I grew up with get together once a month for lunch. My husband is a golfer so I have gotten in touch with a few old friends and we have breakfast together and sometimes shop. You don't need a man that doesn't make you number one.
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It seems like in most marriages someone is always getting the short end of the stick. The only times that other people's marriages seem ideal to me are either when I don't know the couple well enough to know what their lives together are really like, or when the wife is really headstrong and totally accepting of herself, and her husband is supportive (but those are few and far between.) Your sister in law's situation sounds so off balance; her poor kids! One time on Oprah I saw a lady on bragging about her perfect marriage, and Oprah asked the husband how he does it. He said something like, "A little piece of me had to die so she can be happy"!!! My mom and I laughed till we cried. It was awful but probably a lot of people have been there. (I always wondered if that couple stayed married after that.)
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Lindylu, as a matter of fact, he is older, by 10 years! My emotions are all over the place today. One minute, I don't even want to talk to him on the phone, and the next, I'm so lonely, I cannot stand it. He is planning a trip down to come visit for a few days this week, and I'm not looking forward to it one bit. It's amazing how much my feelings have changed. I am working with a therapist, but we've only had a few sessions thus so far. She is really great, and I'm sure she'll guide me a lot more. I've been extremely blue today, because I keep wondering why I chose so wrong. Also, lately, I've been thinking about my spouse's sister, who is a total drug addict/alcoholic slob, who doesn't work, treats her husband and children like crap, keeps her house in shambles, never cooks dinner, and is basically a sloth, yet....HER husband works his buns off daily to provide for her & the kids, has her set up in a beautiful home, bought her a brand new car, worships the ground she walks on, and doesn't expect a thing out of her, plus bought her a $20,000 ring, which she happily rubbed in my face last time I saw her. I simply don't understand women like that who treat their men like crap, and get rewarded for it, yet I roll out the red carpet for my man, and I am nothing, but a secretary with no home, no nothing. It's silly to compare, but it just makes you wonder.....I am officially out of it today, please disregard!
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I just reread what you wrote earlier today. Is he older than you? My husband is about 10 years older and that "it will make you stronger" BS was ringing the 'older man' bell. That is not nice. You do deserve better, Laurieann.

Do you know what kind of change is better for you? Some people do better with a dramatic and quick change, others are better off taking little steps. (I like to imagine the big, dramatic fresh start, but in reality, that is just not how I'm able to handle things.) Good luck and let us know how things go.
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Laurieann, I know how you feel. It's really hard. Listen to your gut and keep trying to envision what you want for yourself. You have been through a lot. He should have been there for you and the way you feel makes a lot of sense. Even if you decide to stay together, just make sure you are looking out for yourself and that you are getting what you want out of it. Good luck this weekend!
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laurie -you are facing some very difficult times and decisions and your emotions seem to be all over the place, Decisions are best made when you are calmer and have considered everything thoughtfully. Perhaps this time together will help you move in one direction or the other.

I hope, as well as being concerned about him, you are concerned about you and what is best for you. You need an income - from him or from working at a job yourself. You need some plan for your future - with him and without him. I hope your therapist is helping you work these things out as well as reconciling with the fact that you did not get his support when your mother died. Is that a deal breaker?

I truly hope that soon you make a decision one way or the other, and then work out the details of that decision. Right now you seem to be caught in between. It is a painful place to be. (((((((hugs)))))
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And...did he worry about you! Why worry about him. If this man truly loved you he wouldn't have treated u like this. You owe him nothing. And in two years how do u know he hasn't cheated. Get out why you have some self respect. Better than be alone than with a bastard.
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I understand your point. He has been gone long enough to weigh the pros and cons of taking him back. He walked out on you once will he do it again. From what I am reading, he has a free secretary. Really, do u want to live like this the rest of your life. If u don't have a job, start looking. Like him, tell him your Dad is number 1. Look into what somebody posted, being common law ur divorced at two years. If you have a joint bank acct. you r entitled to half. See a lawyer. At this point he Is "comfortable". You have to have the courage to walk away.
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He actually is coming home for a visit this Monday. He says he is very excited to come see me, etc. The thing is, I am not excited anymore. I used to feel thrilled when I would see him, but now, not so much. The spark is definitely not there. He thinks everything is A-okay, because I talk on the phone like everything is normal. I am just in a rut, and haven't a clue how I am going to do what I really need to do, which is to end the relationship. I am not getting any of my needs met whatsoever. I love him, but am not "in love" with him any more. I keep thinking about him not being there for me at my mom's funeral service. It was one of the most painful things I have ever had to deal with, and I did it alone. He said that it would make me stronger in the long run, but all it did was make me bitter. The hardest thing about this is, I can't even imagine myself without this man. I worry about who is going to take care of him. I worry about hurting him. I worry about his health. I worry about him completely. All of that is what I can't put my mind around when I think of ending it. I don't know how people divorce after so many years. How does that happen? What is going to make this even more complicated is the fact that my "spouse's" first cousin, who he is extremely close to is married to my sister.
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Looks like this man is trying to protect his inheritance by staying with parents. My opinion, if there is no legal "marriage" then you just need to walk away. I wouldn't want to get involved with his drama. You have responsibilities of ur own.
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Laurie, I'm so sorry that you are in this painful situation.

You ended your initial post by saying you feel used. You stated that his parents come first and always will. You stated that the home he expects you to stay in is infested with vermin.

I don't want to cause you pain. But you are describing a person who has no boundaries with his parents. That isn't a good basis for an adult relationship.

Only you can decide how to handle this situation. I think it might be wise to seek some outside support in clarifying for yourself what your priorities are and what your next steps should be.
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Fourteen years is a long time to invest. I spent 13 years with my last husband in TX before he said he didn't want to be married anymore. I understand how you're feeling. When it is over, it feels like it would almost be better to be a widow. Then at least there would be the sympathy that goes with that.

Do you get the feeling that it is over? If it is, I guess the best thing is to find your feet and show him what a bad decision he made. I know it is hard to do when you're caregiving. But you're in TX, so it will come to you.
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JessieBelle, thank you. I appreciate it. I am hurting, and I am not surprised at how people responded, either. The digital age has made people cold. I really don't care what they think of me. I was just venting, but thank you for taking up for me anyway.
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I just read this. The OP appears to be gone, but I feel for her. The man she has depended on for 14 years has told her that he is over her, and she is left taking care of her father, wondering what went wrong. And now the truth -- I wouldn't talk to a dog the way that some people on here talked to this hurting woman. Now some are going to jump on me like I've committed a terrible crime in saying this, but I don't care. Goodness, some of you need to stop using the group to jump on people and feel good doing it. Nuff said. This is a support group, not a group to show people how dumb they are being.

Laurie, if you are still out there, just pay attention to what your husband is saying and what he is doing. That will provide all the answers you need. Figure out how you're going to take care of yourself financially. TX has a lot of job opportunities, and you can work while watching out for your father. You are very important, so make sure you are building a life for yourself. Things can change when couples spend time apart. Often the changes can't be undone. If that is the case, take care of yourself financially and emotionally. I'm sorry you are going through this.
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Ok. Here's the deal. There are at least three ways to be married in Texas. With a traditional civil ceremony 2) an Informal marriage where "paper work" is completed at the courthouse. No ceremony. 3) Common law marriage. This is where people "set up housekeeping" and represent themselves to be married to others. See below. All three require a divorce OR in the case of the common law marriage if they are separated for two years they are considered divorced.

Our friend, Laurie, who has been posting here stated that it would be two years in December that her husband has been gone.
She also said he wouldn't spend the whole night with her in the hotel. Stayed until 4:30. So, she's trying to stay married BUT to untangle their bank accounts etc they will probably need a divorce despite his best efforts.
FROM A LAWYERS AD.
Common law marriage is recognized in Texas and, should the spouses choose to separate, they can receive a divorce from their common law marriage. However, the rules for divorce for a common law marriage are slightly different than the rules for typical divorces.
Establishing Common Law Marriage
First of all, it is important to establish that you were actually in a common law marriage. To be valid, Texas common law marriages must meet the following requirements:
Both parties must have agreed to be married
The couple must have held themselves out to the community as husband and wife, either by introducing each other as husband and wife or by filing a joint income tax return
The couple must live as husband and wife
All three of these requirements must be met for a relationship to be considered a common law marriage. While many couples live with each other for extended periods of time, these couples are only considered married under common law if they also meet the first two requirements.
Filing for Common Law Divorce
Once it has been established that a common law marriage exists, the marriage may only be dissolved by filing for divorce. However, if a couple that is married under common law separates and an action for divorce is not filed within two years after the parties cease living together, it is presumed that they did not agree to be married in the first place.
If you are married under the common law and decide to separate from your spouse, it may seem simpler to just separate without filing for divorce, since your marriage will be considered non-existent if you remain separated for a period of two years. However, there may be many reasons to file for common law divorce, including the following:
Fair division of marital assets
Clear child custody orders
Determination of child support and spousal support
Once it has been determined that there is a common law marriage, the property division, child custody and support obligations upon divorce are the same as a civil marriage.
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I don't know why she worded it that way, but the relative who did this referred to it as a common law marriage too for awhile. (It was very confusing for the family because we all thought it was b.s., but it turned out to be a real thing.) You might be right -- who knows whether they filed the paperwork? (But if they did, I can see where it would be hard to make that break, especially if she feels like the guy is in a crisis.)
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That's very interesting, Lindylu, thank you - filed under the heading of You Learn Something Every Day!

But if it's that legally binding why would you even feel the need to specify what sort of marriage it is? Are we sure this couple had done the paperwork?
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I think the original poster is long gone but to clarify for those of you unfamiliar with Texas' common law marriages, they are marriages legally recognized by the state. It is the marriage without the wedding. It entitles people to be on each others' insurances, inherit property, etc. They filed the paperwork, are legally bound, and on top of that, it sounds like she helps her husband run a business so that adds extra complication to her predicament.
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Laurieann, with all respect, he is not your "husband" and they are not your "in-laws". As disheartening as this sounds, let him go. If he loves you, he'll come back. Begin extracating yourself financially and try to move on.
This family drama is not yours to judge. He has made his choice, and it's pretty clear. Right now he doesn't have much to give to you, at least not what you want. Leave him alone. Walk away.
I hope your therapist is helping you build self esteem and self reliability. It is not the responsibility of our domestic partners- gay, straight, married or unmarried to define us. Find your own identity now, it's time to move on.
That adage is correct- if you love somebody set them free, if they don't come back they were never yours to begin with. Leave him alone and see what happens. At least you will know how this man with obvious commitment issues feels about you. Doesn't it worry you that he hasn't committed to you enough to make you his wife?
You still have a lot of time, Laurieann. 14 years is a drop in the bucket of life. Pick yourself up and move on.
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660 words passionately defending your husband. Who is not your husband. And, apparently, sincere in your belief that your therapist understands and empathises with his victimhood; most therapists won't even explain their client's lives, let alone the lives of people they've never met.

Laurieann, all this about how draining the parents are, and the totally reliable highly experienced older lady with excellent references who walked out on him without notice, and the evil gloating brother...

You've seen all this, or you've heard it from your partner?

Do you ever wonder what he tells his parents about you?

I think I'm tending more to the "run like the wind" side. Ask your therapist to remind you about Stockholm Syndrome.
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The woman I speak of was in no way, shape or form his other girlfriend. She was an employee he hired to care for his parents. I can say with 100% certainty that he wasn't having an affair/relationship with this lady. She is an older lady, married with grown children, also about 250 pounds with a mustache. No way! She had been working at the house for about three weeks, but she started flaking out. I think she just couldn't handle the duties. His parents will drain even the strongest of people. She was changing my FIL's diaper, cleaning, cooking, etc. I just think she quit without notice, because the job was too much for her to handle. She had been highly recommended from a friend of my husband. He checked her references, etc. Her last job was working for a wealthy family, taking care of the grandmother for many years. I didn't expect my husband to drop caregiving duties to wine & dine me. I just wanted to spend an evening alone, away from his parents house, talking, watching tv, etc. Just being together overnight while the caregiver was there that week. She was hired for the week, then went home on the weekends. She didn't quit the weekend I was there, either. It was about two weeks afterwards. The week I visited, this caregiver lady was caring for his parents, and he didn't need to rush off for any reason. She had even encouraged him to spend time with his "senora." I liked her, alot! He told me that he felt bad, because he didn't want his mother to wake up, and have to drink coffee alone. He left the hotel at 4:30 in the morning. I was flabbergasted. But, again, maybe there is something there that I don't get. My therapist told me that she understands now why he is always there. It was because he was so neglected as a child. He has six siblings, and out of all these kids, my husband was the least favorite, yet, they always relied on him to help them, and to get them out of binds. He has the brains of the family too. As a matter of fact, years ago, he had left one of his brothers in charge or handling the parents care & finances, and this guy ended up exploiting the parents to his own advantage. That is why my husband has been in/out of court. When my husband discovered what his own older brother was doing with the parents money & properties, he went down there to investigate. Him, and his sister & other brother, along with their mother went to an elder attorney to see what could be done about this quit claim deed, etc. I think things would've been a lot smoother, if this brother hadn't jumped the gun and been so greedy. This guy is a piece of work. He quit claim deeded the property, then took control of his parents money, then his girlfriend took my 86 year old MIL into a home builder, so she could use her credit to buy a house for her daughter, etc. Now, this SAME brother hired himself an attorney, and filed a lawsuit on my husband, trying to get him away from their parents, so he can continue exploiting. He has bragged to numerous people in the neighborhood that he is going to be left everything in the will, and that he doesn't ever have to worry about retirement, because his dad "gave" him all the money in the bank. This is the same guy that just filed for guardianship. So, maybe just maybe if my husband can get this situation under control, and get this brother out of the picture, he will be able to get another caregiver in there to help, so he can come home, at least for a visit. We will see. I appreciate seeing other people's opinions on this.
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Amen Countrymouse! Well said! There are so many men (and women) out there who are damaged and just want someone to come along and fix them.

So many relationships start out great and then suddenly one or both of the people start looking for what they never received from Mommy or Daddy or their last partner or whomever and the walls come crumbling down. Sad, but true.
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If this man were posting instead of Laurieann I think the responses would look very different.

He's a scapegoat child seeking the (mythical, as we know too well) approval and acceptance that was always lacking. His parents have assets, and his siblings are circling. He's trying to keep a business going. He does need support, but whether or not he deserves it..?

Laurieann, you say for example that there was no reason he couldn't take that evening off. The very next sentence you say that the person he was relying on to provide cover quit without notice not long after. Well I think Surprise might be right - that actually local girlfriend had enough of him and walked - but in any case was she someone he could safely leave his parents with? Evidently not.

Meanwhile the lady (you) to whom he has proved unable to commit himself for some years - I hear "common law", I say "more fool you" - won't touch his family situation with a stick. Well, good decision there. But he does have a real, substantial situation to handle. And seriously you think he should be taking time out of it to wine and dine you?

There are men who are emotional disaster areas. They go through life leaving a trail of devastation in their wakes and wondering why all the women they "love" turn into hopeless lunatics. I have two good female friends I long to give a t-shirt with the slogan "C___ F____ - I survived!" and "N____ S_____ - never again!" Discarded but not fully detached partners, legitimate and illegitimate children in whose lives they continue to meddle damagingly while calling themselves good fathers. I can think of three I know personally without trying very hard, and they are charming, vulnerable monsters.

I can't tell whether you've got one of those on your hands, or if this is a damaged man who needs and deserves your selfless support if you are to build a lasting future together. But I think you must make up your mind which he is, and either run like the wind - *permanently* - or roll your sleeves up. One or the other. At the moment you're risking your own peace of mind, potentially throwing away more valuable time, and doing nothing to help him. Decision time.
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LaurieAnne, try giving yourself a bit more positive affirmation. Your used to be (common-law) spouse gives the helper who calls in sick the benefit of the doubt but not you? We teach people how to treat us my dear. You have taught him that you'll do anything he wants and an "I love you" at the end of a phone call is enough to keep you around so you will continue to do anything he wants. Please think a little more of yourself.
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I was one of those horribly treated kids, severely abused. Yes, we eat up parental affirmation, but we also are either mean as snakes and also abuse people or very needy and likely to be used. I fall into the latter category and have to be careful to draw tight boundaries around me or I do too much for people and am strung along with words like, I could never have done this without you! The book Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud helped me tremendously - written from a Christian viewpoint, but not preachy to me.

I'm going to guess that woman was his local girlfriend. I'd have quit when my boyfriend's other girlfriend came too. It never occurred to you he's trying to get you there to tend his dad for him, like you do everything else for him?
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Countrymouse, our plans were to take care of my widowed dad in his home. My dad is a cardiac patient, but other than that, he is okay. He is very lonely without my mother, though and hasn't been coping well without her. He does not want me to move out of this house, which is really big. I guess it would feel even more awkward if nobody was in it since it is a big house. I realize my spouse is going through the worst time of his life down there taking care of his parents, but in a way, he is getting something out of it. He was neglected horribly when he was a kid, and now, his parents need him, and tell him, "thank you, son." He told me that it brings tears to his eyes, because he never felt wanted like that as a child. They really were horrible, neglecting parents. The thing I don't get is, he has another brother, and a sister who live right down there street from the parents. The brother works out of his home, and the sister doesn't work at all. She is a supposed "housewife" but all she does is play on Facebook all day, and pop Xanax pills. They don't help my husband at all with their parents. Also, the woman my husband hired was there when I went to visit last time. There was no excuse as to why he didn't want to spend that quality time with me. His parents weren't alone. Well, now, that woman quit with no notice, so he is back to square one finding someone. It is hard to describe our situation. I know that the right thing to do would be to end it, but I just cannot see myself actually going through with it, at least until I get fed up. I literally do everything for him, like paperwork, computer stuff, faxing, scanning, writing letters, etc. He relies on me for everything. I am basically his administrative assistant. It hasn't been a relationship in a long, long time. All of this might come to a screeching halt in the next few months anyway, because one of his brothers filed for guardianship on the parents, so he could steal the rest of their properties. The court is now getting an ad litem to investigate. Who knows. The court might give the parents rights away to a court appointed guardian, especially when they find out that the parents have assets. The courts can be just as greedy as family members. More drama, I suppose!
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While I agree with the advice you have already been given I have one more suggestion.

I want you to reread your post, every word of it. I want you to read it as if it were written by a woman you love, a sister, or a best friend perhaps. What would your advice to her be?

Angel
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Laurieann, I can understand why you wouldn't want to call time on a long relationship that you valued.

I'm sorry for your loss of your mother. What are your plans (and his) for your father's care in future?

All I want to say about your CLH is this. He's a full-time caregiver. They don't do glamorous nights out. Either *help* him, or leave him, but don't make more demands on him than he already has to cope with.
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I know a young couple who had a gorgeous wedding last summer, and shortly after, he father had a stroke in a faraway state. They have been living apart for 6 months now! (but they have been together for 12 years.)
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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.
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