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CaptainHarley's avatar

Women ... ok, so you married a deadbeat/slob/skirt-chaser/etc. and finally gave him the boot. But WHY did you marry him/move in with him/etc., in the first place?

Asked by CaptainHarley (22437points) February 22nd, 2010

I know a multitude of women who married men they thought were ok, but who turned out to be lazy or alcoholic or drug-addicted or just deadbeats. They finally unloaded them, but not before damage was done. Did this happen to you? I really am interested in knowing why you married someone like that, and what the warning signs were in retrospect. What sort of advice would you give a young woman to avoid this sort of catastrophy?

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24 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

To split the rent?

Blackberry's avatar

I wonder the same thing, especially why women stay with physically abusive men. Self esteem apparently is a pretty big factor in this. Probably being dependent on the men somehow is a factor as well.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think a lot of women have the idea that they are going to have the magical power of love to be “the one” to change a guy.

tinyfaery's avatar

I agree with @PandoraBoxx. Most women think that they are the one’s who can change a man. They learn their lessons the hard way.

aprilsimnel's avatar

A lot of people marry and date who they believe deep down they deserve, it’s not just women. Tell your children that they are of infinite worth just on account of because, and they don’t need to be around anyone who brings them down. Tell them that they’re worth more than being with someone who doesn’t care about them or themselves. Skirt-(or pants-)chasers/deadbeats/druggies/gamblers/etc. don’t care about themselves, and therefore are incapable of caring about anyone else. They don’t know how.

faye's avatar

My ex-husband didn’t seem like a drunk when I married him but slowly he drank more and more. After a couple of goes with ADDAC and counselling and good years, then it got too bad.

WhyOhWhy's avatar

My sister did this. She married him to escape another bad situation. She thought he was the only way out. Sad.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Some really good answers here! Thank you. Keep ‘em commin! : ))

escapedone7's avatar

A whole novel could be written on this subject. There is no way to answer without over-generalizing. Each situation is unique. Some of the factors that come into play can be some, all, or none of the following:

1. Masochism. Yes, I have been known to have masochistic tendencies, emotional, sexual and physical. This is not as rare as you might think.

2. Ingrained behavior reinforcement from childhood sets relationship patterns. At times if one parent was abusive or dysfunctional your world “revolves” around that person, and you don’t have the ability to develop normal healthy sense of boundaries, give and take, or sense of self. Co-dependent behavior is fostered until it is an ingrained pattern learned in childhood that takes some therapy, self awareness, and time to grow out of.

3. The abuser is at times charming, romantic, and caring. They do not take you out on the first date, slap you, and say “This is the way it’s going to be byach!” Abusers slowly groom you into your situation a little at a time, slowly escalating things. Sometimes you don’t notice how high the heat is until the water is boiling They do tend to follow a pattern though, slowly cutting you off from your support system, friends and family. A few random angry outbursts happen sporadically but seem a deviance from their normal behavior, over time it increases to a daily thing but not at first.

4. Sometimes these relationships happen fast. The abuser rushes things. It feels like a “whirlwind romance”. The person is often very charismatic and intense. The intensity, drama, constant attention, can really seem exciting to a young inexperienced person. This intense amount of attention might not be seen as controlling in the beginning, or obsessive, but instead interpreted as being some manic form of “Love”.

5. In my case I was 18 years old. I did not know my anus from a hole in the ground when I was 18 years old.

6. I percieved diving out of a marriage that just began as failure, quitting, or giving up to soon. I wanted to try to hang in there, work it out, try counseling, etc. I did not want the stigma of being a divorcee. I did not want to hear all the “I told you so’s” about being married too young. I percieved our problems as being in part my fault, and thus kept trying to fix things. Maybe if I don’t make him angry, this won’t happen…

7. Relationships are dynamic. Every relationship I have ever been in has been very different. But in essence a young inexperienced person sometimes “enables” the other person’s dysfunction. I bailed mine out of jail when I should have let him sit there. We pay the bills they didn’t pay. We “fix” things rather than let them feel the consequences of their actions. Therefore the other person never learns, and their behavior gets worse. If the next woman he is with is the kind who just “won’t put up with his sht” she just may end up having a different kind of relationship with the same person.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I was 20. Enough said.

ChaoSS's avatar

Because when you married him, you THOUGHT he was perfect and you THOUGHT you were in love with him.

But then you started spending time with him and REALIZED that you don’t connect at all with him.

This guy was always like this, people don’t just suddenly “change” their personality and way of life. They always acted like that, always have been a cheater, deadbeat, slob etc…

Maybe people will finally realize the message that you need to take the time to get to know someone and date them for awhile to see if you actually can connect with them instead of jumping the gun and getting married to them so soon. (Believe me, people are less and less patient these days and thats why you see such high divorce rates because they just jump into these things)

So, really in the end, this WAS YOUR fault. Next time, and let this be a lesson to the other ladies on here (And guys looking for women) to take the time to actually get to know the person and see who they truly are.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I have told all of my daughters and grandaughters that very thing… that you need to get to KNOW someone before you become serious about them. I also told them that when you’re dating someone, that’s the BEST they’re ever going to be; when you’re dating, you’re on your best behavior, so if there’s something that kinda bothers you about them when you’re dating, you can count on it only getting worse later on.

sustainable_stability's avatar

sometimes you are young and a loser too, but you grow out of it and they don’t. or you treat them like a “cute project” that you think you will be able to redo with an extreme personality makeover and it just doesn’t happen. OR sometimes they start off great, but they change over time and take on stupid behaviours. it always varies, i think.

JLeslie's avatar

I think a lot of people above gave a many very good reasons. One that has not been mentioned is I think sometimes people grow up in very nice normal families, and are completely oblivious to how shitty a person can be. If they don’t date long enough, or if the guy (can be the a girl, but usually the guy) is a real charmer, and you are very naive, you might get sucked in. Many times these bad guys are sociopaths, or at minimum ego maniac macho idiots, and many women, especially young women are blind sided. I dated a guy who lied and cheated, and all of his brothers and uncles and father for that matter lied and cheated, it was a way of life. I knew all of their wives and all of their girlfriends. They were all very nice, funny, fun to be around. I didn’t know people could be like that until I experienced it myself. Even still, I stayed for a long time, but I was very young.

Supacase's avatar

I think @PandoraBoxx is on target. Two things factored into me getting into a situation like this.

1 – I thought I could be the one to love him enough to heal all of his wounds because, really, he is a great guy underneath it all. (yeah)

2 – It is very flattering and makes you feel so special when a “bad boy” chooses you to be the one person he treats with respect and affection in front of everyone else.

AstroChuck's avatar

Because the heart wants what the heart wants. We tend to follow that as opposed to our heads.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think these kinds of people also know how to prey on the weak. I have heard countless stories about the awful man my grandmother’s sister married. He would beat her on a regular basis. He had multiple mistresses. He would disappear for days, sometimes weeks at a time. He may have sexually abused his daughters. She stayed because his family was very rich and influential and had more than one judge in their pockets. She would have lost her five children in the divorce.

Until recently, I had often wondered why this woman who was always described as bright and interesting and independent would ever get involved with a man like that. My grandmother recently told me about the man her sister was going to marry before she married her awful husband. He was a good, nice man who treated her very well. She was deeply in love with him. He died. My great-aunt was so heart broken and vulnerable that she could be swept up and away by this awful, awful man.

I think these men who hurt these women find the ones whose guards are all the way down and latch on.

faye's avatar

I should also say that everyone is easier to get along with for short times, takes living together, ups and downs to sometimes get the real man/woman out there.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Some really great answers here. Got any recommendations for the grandfather of one young lady who seems to be making a big mistake in this area?

escapedone7's avatar

Let her read or hear a few other people’s stories about how they got sucked in and what their experience was like.

Familiarize her with certain warning signs. Such as, if her feelings are often discounted. She says she’d rather not eat at the same restaurant for the fifth time and he argues about how great it is and drives her there anyway. When she says she is uncomfortable with something he goes on about why she should not feel that way. Constantly her feelings, opinions and beliefs will be “shot down” and invalidated, and replaced with his own version of everything. She may think she is being cooperative and open minded to go along. Years of constant invalidation though, will leave her wondering who she even was before he replaced her reality with his own. A decent guy will care and pay attention to what you think and feel and respect boundaries.

Beware of gaslighting. It’s when they constantly deny things you know to be true and lie to your face until you question your own judgment and perceptions.

Beware of obsessive behavior. If he can’t give you enough personal space, has to be around you non stop, calls 30 times a day, believe it or not it is not a good sign. Like I said, it is flattering at first and you might think wow this guy is so in love with you! Ha . No . It’s actually an early sign of obsessive controlling behavior and a person who will not respect normal healthy boundaries.

Test him. Say “no” once in a while and see if he respects the limits you set.

Check his background early on. Really.

Beware of someone who goes through a lot of jobs in a short amount of time, has a criminal record, has prior convictions for assault or domestic violence and fighting.

Beware of someone who constantly trashes his exes, believe it or not. If he villifies other people, painting them as evil, blames all his problems with them on THEM and nothing is EVER his fault, if he can’t take criticism of any sort without becoming angry, if he has frequent problems getting along with neighbors, people at work, etc. If he is ALWAYS having a problem with someone else and it is always the other persons fault in his mind.

If he has substance abuse problems but is still in denial about needing help or treatment, it’s a bad sign.

Do NOT enable someone elses dysfunctional behavior EVER. It makes everything so much worse, allows the other person to never learn from their mistakes, and YOU become the other half of the dysfunction. If he doesn’t pay the light bill let him sit in the dark, and go stay with your sister. Let him sit there with the lights off. Don’t “fix it” and pay his bill. If he gets arrested for fighting, let him sit in jail. Don’t lie for him to get him out of trouble or save his job. ALWAYS let him feel the consequences of his choices and behavior. Rescuing him from natural consequences perpetuates a dysfunctional cycle that could be broken pretty easily by someone who refuses to enable it.

If he hits you, press charges. Don’t back down. Don’t think he won’t do it again. He will.

Emotional abuse always precedes the physical abuse. Maybe he hasn’t hit you yet, but your feelings are hurt all the time. That is still abuse, and he’s testing you to see if you will let him hurt you.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Now THAT is one of the best answers I have ever seen to this question or ones like it! Kudos to you! Sounds like you’ve been there, done that, got the lousy t-shirt. My condolences. I’m very pleased you “escaped.”

Kokoro's avatar

@escapedone7 has described it perfectly for me. I did not marry him, but we moved very fast. He was my first boyfriend so I knew nothing about anything in relationships. He told me he loved me early in, and it surprised me. He was so sweet with words, but when angry he was a monster. He would make excuses for unacceptable behavior, and I believed him. I was like a puppy with my tail under me because I loved him so much – I trusted that he cared about me. I never really know if he loved me truly and just didn’t know how to love, but who cares now. I know now I didn’t deserve to be treated and regarded like that, and he will not change.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

Because he knocked me up and I thought that was the right thing to do at the time :-/

krgamman's avatar

Well, 13 years ago I met my would-be husband, and he was nothing like the other men my friends were marrying: he was NOT a drug addict or alcoholic, he was not abusive or immature . . . he seemed like a miraculous god-send to me because I was trying to get out of a rual, impoverished neighborhood and he was from the city—the type of behavior I was seeing in other guys from my home area was just completely foreign to him. He worshipped the ground I walked on and treated me like a queen, but he had trouble keeping a job. He would work on and off and we’d bicker about it, but I had my own career ambitions and I overlooked his inability to keep a job because I just thought he wasn’t as career-oriented as I was.

We have two kids. Shortly after the birth of my first child, I lost my job. Babysitting was too expensive for me to pay for us to both work, so it made more sense at the time to just have him stay at home while I worked in customer service, which, if you’ve ever done that kind of work, you know it’s best to take it in the short term, not the long term. Well, time wore on with my husband at home and I made all of the money. My mental state deterioriated greatly under this call center job, but I kept on and he went back to school. I was very, very skeptical about this at first because I didn’t want us to get involved in any more debt than we already had, but he did so well and took care of everything himself that I found a renewed faith in the future.

In fall of last year, he was 2 quarters away from finishing school when he became very ill and suffered a stroke. I was at his side every single day. Our kids stayed with my mother for close to a month while he recuperated in the hospital. He was released after a month and half and because he was young and did not (thankfully) experience ANY loss of motor function or brain function the doctor gave him a clean bill of health. Understandably, neither one of us pushed the issue of school, but he DID return in spring and finished his class work, leaving only an internship before certification.

In spring my grandmother died, and the pressure of keeping a call center job was wearing on me so bad that I ended up taking medical leave for anxiety issues. I returned to work, but the work environment was getting worse and worse. i told him over and over and over again “I am going to quit. I have to quit. I have to quit to keep myself from having a nervous breakdown” and in september, I did just that—I bailed all the money out of my 401k and I quit that awful, soul-killing job, right around the same time that he told me that he didn’t want to take an internship with “all this going on” . . . so now, as my savings run dry, and I have two little kids to take care of, I watch him as he lays in bed most of the day, chatting on IM with ANOTHER WOMAN, desperately grasping at whatever jobs temp agencies can scrap up for me, and I ask him over and over if he’s even looking for an internship and he reacts like a 14 year old kid, usually by going up to our bedroom and laying on the bed in his tennis shoes, sulking with his blackberry in hand so he can chat with her and listening to CD’s, while I’m applying, applying, applying . . . or cooking, or cleaning, or etc.

So you know, that’s how it happened to me. I tried to escape that worthless-man karma and I ended up getting it anyway. I’m looking forward to a future full of either paying for his student loans for a career that he never even attempted or a divorce with “manimony” where I still pay for his student loans and his car and his living expenses while he’s never bought so much as a toy for either one of his two boys.

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