Life After Divorce From a Controlling Husband

By Nanda Davis on
Life After Divorce From a Controlling Husband

What would your life be like if you were free from your controlling husband? Would you be able to have your friends over for a dinner party or take a cooking class? Could you finally buy that dress you’ve had your eye on? Cut your hair, take a dancing class or travel?

Divorce is a difficult process but many women I represent end up so much happier and free to finally live their lives without criticism and intimidation.


Signs You Have a Controlling Husband

Ask yourself, does your husband:

  • Dictate which clothes, makeup, or hairstyles you can wear?
  • Get really angry if you disagree with him, challenge him, or question him?
  • Make you feel guilty if you spend time with friends instead of with him?
  • Accuse you of checking out or flirting with other men?
  • Criticize your cooking, your weight, or other things about you or what you do?
  • Take your phone and read your texts and emails?
  • Refuse to be open about finances or control your finances?
  • Make sex feel more like an obligation, or worse, a punishment, rather than pleasure?
  • Insist you come home right after work or quiz you on where you’ve been?
  • Make your friends uncomfortable when they come to your house?
  • Insist you show him receipts for groceries or shopping trips?
  • Demand that you check in with him multiple times a day while at work or when you’re on a business trip?

No one deserves to be in a relationship where these behaviors are the norm. Abusive relationships don’t just involve physical violence; all of these behaviors are forms of abuse.

Realize How You Got to This Point

No one shakes your hand on a first date and says “hi, my name is John and I’m going to be an abusive, controlling husband.” Over the years, patterns of abuse and intimidation get worse as these men figure out which behaviors allow them to maintain control, and these women feel that giving in is easier than another fight.

As women, we’ve been told that confrontation is a bad thing. We try hard to please those we care about and if someone criticizes the way we look or behave, we often internalize these messages rather than reject them. Sometimes walking away from a long-term relationship feels like a failure and women can be hard on themselves for getting themselves into these situations. Instead of self-judgment, I urge my clients to be kind to themselves and focus on the future rather than dwell on the past.

Why Are Some Men Abusive?

Why do these men behave this way? Often they feel insecure about something—how they look, their careers, their finances, their social isolation. Exerting control over their wives may make them feel empowered, or may be their way of trying not to lose their wives.

Consulting a Divorce Lawyer

Women who have been in these types of relationships are some of my favorite clients. I help my clients stand up to these men for the first time, both in writing and in the courtroom. I’m right next to my clients every step of the way. These men are often shocked that a female attorney and their wives dare to challenge them. The worse these men behave, the more ammunition I have against them in court. Most importantly, once the process starts, my clients are no longer controlled by their husbands.

If you have a controlling husband or can relate to this in any way, I urge you to think about what you want your future to look like. I do the work I do, not because divorce is an easy process, but because I see clients come out on the other side so much happier after an abusive relationship.