By Thomas Phippen
What would you do if your wife is physically abusive, but you don’t want to dump her because she’s carrying your child? One British manturned to The Guardian for help.
In a post to the Private Lives section of The Guardian — where “Guardian readers solve your problems” — the 30-year-old man asks for advice on how to deal with his abusive wife. “My wife started pushing and slapping me early in our marriage, but this has descended to scratching, kicking and punching. When co-workers see me with a black eye, I make excuses,” the man said.
The man isn’t sure why his wife is abusive, but says “she complains that I don’t spend enough money on her.” To complicate the issue, his wife is pregnant with their first child, and claims she resents marrying him in the first place.
“Should I leave my wife?” he asks.
As one would expect, some commenters called for retaliation. “Give her a slap?” one reader suggested before the comment was removed by the site moderators.
The man said he would never physically attack his wife. “My father was very abusive to my mother and I vowed never to be the same, but it takes a lot of restraint.”
The conversation in the comments highlights how differently people think of domestic abuse when perpetrated by a woman. “DO NOT leave,” commenter RiccardoG says.”Men in this situation are truly stuffed. There is no help available,” he says in another comment.
Those who advise the man to stay and work things out and work things out attract replies like, “and you would say that to a woman?”
Commenter Wizzby says, “call the police and have her charged.” “Easier said than done,” justdreamingguss replies, “especially if the woman starts crying. Your gone!”
A commenter who goes by HuckleAndLowly said he was in a similar situation:
Talking about this to your doctor has three advantages. First, your doctor will be able to document what is happening (if you have a black eye, for example, they will record that fact on their medical records for you, and will also record the cause). Second, the first step to getting a better handle on the abuse to talk about it, face to face, with someone who will listen. Talking about it anonymously online is a slight help, but a face to face conversation with somebody who will listen is a whole different thing, and will help you an awful lot, I feel. Finally, your doctor may also be able to give you referrals to professionals who can help further (social services or something similar, for example).
HuckleAndLowly also says there are advantages to have family and friends around the house as much as possible. “The ideal situation here would probably be if she could recognize and change her abusive behavior, for her own sake, for your sake, and for the sake of your child. If that is possible, then consider staying. Otherwise, you should leave and take your child with you.”
Send tips to email@example.com.