When we got married, Seth and I had promised each other a future full of love and happiness. Little did we know that it would only be a fleeting phase and I’d soon be living with a dominating husband. Slowly but surely, things began to change in my marriage and I learned about a whole new side of my husband, who I thought I knew so well. How to deal with a dominating husband? Well, I learned the hard way.
Domestic Dominance In Marriage
Three months passed since we had been married and my best friend, Kayley, came to my apartment for a girls’ night. We were chatting casually about our lives until she asked me about my relationship with Seth. An instant smile came on my face and I told her how easy it had been living with Seth. But what started as praise, soon turned out to be a little different. While recounting my relationship and opening up to Kayley, I found out that there was one big loophole.
I realized how it had been a one-sided relationship and my husband occupied a huge chunk of space in our marriage. The entire relationship dynamic was centered on Seth all the time and I was almost nonexistent. All the decisions were taken by him; in fact, he had been making decisions for me on my behalf.
I had just been a servile follower of his decisions. I had zero agency. Did I have a dominating husband? That’s when I first asked myself that question.
I was taken aback a little by that disturbing realization. But what came next was even more disturbing. I heard some unpleasant noises coming from outside, somebody screaming my name, “Amy! Amy!” and the frightening thing was that I knew the voice.
Kayley and I rushed to my balcony and I saw Seth was quarreling with the keeper of the apartment complex we lived in. I took my mobile phone and hurried downstairs. My screen flashed 40 missed calls from Seth. I didn’t realize that my mobile was on silent and I had forgotten to tell Seth anything about my plan with Kayley.
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Realizing I have a dominant husband
As soon as I reached downstairs, I asked Seth what was the matter. He told me the apartment keeper wasn’t letting him enter the building until he proved his acquaintance with one of the residents. I told the guy that Seth was my husband and he’d come to meet me.
Every time Seth was traveling for work, I’d go back to my old apartment where I had lived as a happily single woman, and spend some time with my friends or enjoy some me-time indulging in my hobbies. This time, Seth had been in New York for a week and it felt really lonely without him at home so I’d gone back to my old place for a while.
After the incident, I could see he was bristling with anger. He violently let go of my hand. He started screaming, asking where I’d been and why I didn’t take his calls.
I nervously replied that I was with Kayley and we were having a girls’ night out which I forgot to tell him about. He started yelling about how I neglected him and disrespected him. He did not stop at that, he began insulting me for how irresponsibly I had behaved and left in a huff.
I was shocked to see this side of him. Somehow, I calmed myself down and tried to brush it off as a result of him having a bad day. I mean, who doesn’t have relationship arguments? Everyone does, so that’s okay!
Understanding the truth about my dominating husband
But actually, nothing was okay. From that day onward, Seth’s domestic dominance became more visible and obvious. Anything in my life that didn’t involve him made him mad with anger. He would act like a boss, telling me whom I should hang out with or not hang out with.
If I was busy and didn’t respond about my whereabouts, he would phone me infinite times like a psycho. And he had become a physical and verbal abuser. Under the garb of that sober-looking man was lurking a volatile narcissist, who could not tolerate rejection or not being the center of attention.
Less than a year into the marriage, I knew I had to end this infernal relationship. Since Seth was so volatile, I planned to end it in the calmest manner I could think of. I made him a coffee and very composedly I told him that it wasn’t working out and we should consider living separately and that I go back to my old apartment for a while. The domestic dominance in our house was drowning me.
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He started begging me to not leave him and asked for a second chance. I was feeling bad for how our marriage had turned out but with the kind of violence I had gone through the last 7-8 months, I couldn’t muster up enough courage to give him one more chance.
I told him that I needed space in this relationship and that he should respect it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to file for a divorce then but I definitely did want to move out. As I started walking out of the kitchen, he held my hand and pressed it hard against the table. He started screaming at me for rejecting him.
Leaving my dominating husband
I panicked and was worried he would turn violent and throw a real fit. I quickly released myself from his clutch, bolted out of our house and I drove back home, to my apartment where I felt safe, even though I was all broken up inside. I cried a lot for succumbing to such a man who never respected me.
But I felt relieved that, finally, that man was out of my life. It was all over. But it was not yet over for him. For weeks he stalked me, called my friends and badmouthed me. He even tried to break into my apartment and I had to lodge a complaint against him, only then he backed off.
Eventually, we got a divorce but don’t even get me started on how difficult it was to convince him of the same. Today, it has been 2 years since he’s been out of my life but I still cannot forget those horrifying months I spent with him, believing it was all love. My life after divorce is much rosier now and I feel free after having left my dominating husband.
As told to Manpreet Kaur (Names changed to protect identities)
Many times it is patriarchal conditioning that drives them to be dominant husbands without realizing it. Other times, it could just be their personalities and their insecurities which make them want to have a sense of control.
If you are undergoing some kind of domestic dominance, we know it can be a harrowing experience. But a dominating partner can indeed change if you change their mindset and show them that they have nothing to worry about. It can take a while to work out the issues, but it is indeed possible.
Your dominating husband or partner might need some kind of therapy to make their inhibitions go away. Consider talking to them first and show them a mirror of how their actions are affecting you. If that does not work, our panel of therapists at Bonobology is only a click away.