BEL MOONEY: Is it worth having a baby with my vile husband?

Dear Bel,
I’ve been with my husband ten years, nine married. He’s from abroad and constantly tells me off if I have an opinion. His culture is so different and men like him are used to humble, obedient women. If I talk back, he says I disrespect him. He yells and talks over me.
He wants a big family. In 2011, I came close to death due to an ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t get pregnant again. Doctors recommended IVF, but I resorted to comfort-eating and piled on weight.
He constantly accuses me of not wanting kids, tells me how to behave, how to drive, who to talk to. Finally, he lost our business and then I caught him cheating last year.

Thought for the day 

...once in a while
you can creep out of your own life
and become someone else —
an explosion in that nest of wires
we call the imagination.
From Acid by Mary Oliver (U.S. poet 1935-2019
He said he’s entitled to find someone to give him a child. I need support and a happy environment to focus on losing weight — having gone from 14st to 20st.
He never said sorry for cheating and says other men would have dumped me after years without children. At least once a month he goes moody and blames me, saying it’s my problem and I need to sort it out.
In bed, we are fine, we always were. The problems start during the day. He goes from nice and cuddly at night to being very cold to me and hardly speaking. Yesterday, after making love, I told him we needed to discuss my weight and IVF and he said: ‘Nothing to discuss, I’ll divorce you.’
I begged him — please be supportive for two months, come with me to the gym and help me have the strength to lose weight. He’s angry with me for not giving him money to invest as he pleases to revive the business he took to the ground last year.
He has a daughter, aged 16, from a previous relationship — his partner left him a few months before I met him because he was making her cry, too.
He stopped all contact with his daughter — and now when men mock him for having no kids, he doesn’t tell them about her, but just comes home mad at me for ‘my problem.’
My question is: is it really worth it to be with someone unsupportive who also cheated? Is it worth considering him as a father of a potential child? Will I have enough time to find someone within two years to have a child — because I really want one?

This week Bel advises a reader who is considering whether or not to have a baby with her partner after he cheated. She says he never said sorry for straying and 'tells her off all the time'
When I first read your (much longer) email I had to walk outside and take some deep breaths — appalled by the helpless horror of the situation you describe.
Oh, I’ve had ones just as bad over the years, but some days it all feels too much for this very-human columnist, and I want to shout, ‘For God’s sake, woman, what are you doing with your life?’
You don’t tell me your age, yet from the urgency of that last question I can start guessing. But let’s just make something very clear: a child isn’t something to ‘want’ in the abstract, like coveting a new accessory or pay rise.
And frankly, I’m not sure which I find worse: the notion that you might actually stay with this horrible bloke who sounds unworthy of fatherhood or the idea of you scurrying around in desperation to find a new sperm donor.
Too many children are born to people who should not have them — and I have no sympathy for those who fail to comprehend the vital, precious, unique importance of each child’s life.
Having said that, I will express sympathy for your plight (and consider your weight issue later), while telling you bluntly that you will be mad and self-destructive to stay with this man a moment longer.
Oh, so he is good in bed but vile in the daytime? Is that a basis for any relationship worth the name? Is there a single good thing to say for the man you are still considering as a putative father for a child?
He is a bully who believes you should submit to the misogynistic conventions of his culture, and showed you nothing but cruelty when you needed support.
He ruined your business, yet expects more money — and (adding insult to vast injury) he was unfaithful and now taunts you with divorce, just to be cruel. It’s a measure of how he has browbeaten you into rock-bottom self-esteem that you don’t yell: ‘Yeah, let’s find a solicitor and get it done!’ Then kick him out.
You actually ask me if it is ‘worth it’ to be with this hostile, unloving man who abandoned his own daughter, yet wants you to give him more babies to neglect!
No, Simone, it is not worth it and now is the time to start considering yourself worth much, much more than you can ever be while this so-called marriage continues. You’ve had a terrible time with the ectopic pregnancy and your weight gain. The latter seems central to considering how you can reconstruct your life.
You attribute your weight to stress, depression and anxiety. To that, I’d probably add fear, since you clearly dread his moods. Therefore ‘comfort-eating’ makes terrible sense. The fatter you are, the more demoralised you feel, and the less likely it is that you will ever have a child, so the more he bullies you.
You must recognise this cycle of victimhood and deprivation — and vow to act to save yourself. You need help with your marriage and weight. Start by studying Relate’s website, then call 0300 0030396. Because you mention the gym, you know how to start a healthy regime — and that this is vital.
Consult websites about diet. I wish you all the luck and strength to start a new life, but leave you with the thought that most women would rather be alone and childless than exist with this ‘husband’.
After lockdown, I’m lonelier than ever 
Dear Bel,
Lockdown had many advantages, because at least I felt that, although on my own, I was ‘not alone’, if you see what I mean. We were all in it together.
Nobody could do anything, go anywhere or have visitors. FaceTime, Zoom or the phone and TV was the most we could aspire to.
But now I see pictures of people on beaches, in garden centres, popping to see friends, driving to visit family, having picnics in the park and visits to second homes. And I’m beginning to feel lonely again. I’m nervous of driving anywhere.
I feel that easing lockdown is creating even more of a ‘them and us’ situation. Those prepared to take risks and those (like me) who think nothing has changed — except that with thousands of new cases every day perhaps the danger is greater. And as I am on my own that is brought home to me even more. What are your views?
There can be no doubt that the current situation is strange and hard for many, many people. In comparison, that prince kissing Sleeping Beauty and instantly waking everyone up seems ridiculously easy.
But then, he did have to cut his way through almost impenetrable thickets — and so do we, as we work out what we can do as well as what we want to do. None of this is easy at all.
You make an interesting point — one worth everyone considering. Experts concerned about the mental health of our nation are already pointing out that there is a pandemic of loneliness — made worse by the virus and lockdown. Those who filled their lives with people and activities suddenly could not — and so, as you say, there was a sense of unity in isolation.
And now you highlight the sad fact that you felt less alone during lockdown because you were no longer contrasting your solitary life with the busy social lives of others. This awareness is made worse by an ongoing fear of a disease which has not gone away.I take your point about ‘them and us’ — and naturally this is being politicised ruthlessly by those with an agenda, as if the Government wanting the economy to get going was akin to wishing to send the populace to die.
From the way I express that you will see which ‘side’ I am on. I have always disliked the phrase ‘Stay Safe’ and very much prefer ‘Stay Alert.’ What else can we do, since universal safety is a pipedream?
At 73, I choose living with risk, rather than cowering in prison. I can’t stand people flinching as if each of us is carrying the plague.
You ask my views, so all I can do is answer from one perspective. In your case, I would do my best to park my (understandable) anxieties in one part of my mind — and stride out to meet the world. I know this will be hard, but how else can you conquer your loneliness and fear?
Perhaps this is the time for a new start — and use what you’ve learned during this strangest of times to consider trying new things as a way to be with people.
Try what? Ah, there’s a hard question. I have friends who live alone but never bewail loneliness because they are so busy — with gardening, clubs, church activities, keep-fit classes, the Ramblers’ Association, volunteer dog-walking for animal rescue homes etc.
It has to be a question of seeing what is available and trying it. Gradually there will be more possibilities, but the country has to wake up before then. And that does mean conquering fear.
And finally... I will catch up with you, I promise
The package forwarded from the Daily Mail office was so bulky I actually weighed it out of curiosity — more than 6lb (three kilos).
This was a backlog of letters sent by ordinary mail to an office that had to be closed because of lockdown.
This is the subject of this week’s Mailplus video (see link below), in which I reveal the pile and tell you what I feel about the letters.
But since the majority of those who use ordinary mail probably do not use a computer, I also want to explain here that this backlog was unavoidable — and I am so sorry.

Contact Bel 

Bel answers readers' questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
Not all the letters will be problems; in the video, I explain that you also send lovely stories and comments and praise, as well as books you think I might like.
Although the pile is daunting — because I have all the words in emails to deal with as well —my job is a great privilege and I’m grateful.
So this is to tell anyone who went to the trouble of writing, sticking a stamp on an envelope and going to the postbox that I will quickly try to catch up with any problems and read the rest carefully, even if I don’t reply. I promise.
On Sunday, my lovely 96-year-old mother came to lunch as usual and took home a carrier bag full of letters, which she will open and sort into categories.
How lucky I am to have the help of someone who was an office whizz-kid in her time.
Talking of organisation, reader Margot sent a lovely email: ‘Bel, I just wanted to tell you that during lockdown I had a huge clear out, and a cupboard contained all the advice pages you have written!
‘And I re-read them all! Thank you for all the help and wisdom you gave us, I don’t have the heart to throw them away.’
Thirteen years at 50 columns a year makes 650 in all. That’s one million, three hundred thousand words. Excuse me while I lie down!

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