Throwaway account here but I need some feedback. I apologize for the length.
I’m a guy (36) married to a (38) woman, no kids and we both work full time and freelance as creatives. We’ve been together 10 years and married for five, and met and bonded on a chaotic project that we carried through. We come from different cultural backgrounds but we’re both atheists, pretty liberal and we both share similar passions in creative projects. She's gorgeous, has good business instincts, is ambitious, and can be very affectionate. She also has issues with depression, victimhood complexes, entitlement, boundary-breaking, and rage. She comes from a well off family but had an abusive childhood, so some of her issues are understandable.
I come from a loving family, who divorced when I was 8 over an affair and my parents probably confided too many details to me when I was young. I saw both my folks and had a loving but a meek father, an overbearing stepfather and a positive career-driven mother. The divorce made me a bit of a loner and I had self-esteem issues growing up because I was into geeky shit. I’m very easy going, patient, and ‘nice’ which is what drew her to me.
My wife and I have had a bumpy relationship with many breakups and reunions over the years. Many cases of her laying ultimatums for me to change or she’s leaving. These include breaking ties with friends she thought were bad for me or female friends she’s jealous of, quitting pot, leaving old college hobbies (tabletop RPGs), getting a higher paying job. These often coincided with holidays or big events in our lives and created a lot of drama, and many were done in ways I had big problems with such as ‘outing’ these things to my parents in order to get me to do what she wanted. I gave in to many of these because I thought they were for my own good and I was a bit lost at that point in my life. These changes did lead me to getting a better job and positive improvements.
The common theme is that she describes herself as dragging me along into adulting, whereas I see her as having a very controlling and bullying personality. We don’t have kids, and talked about having them in the future, but I’ve been on the fence. On the one hand, kids might add more meaning to my life but I also value my free time to work on creative projects. She has grown more into the idea of having kids.
About a year and a half ago, she got pissed at me for a fuck up I made while we were moving into our first home (stuff cleaned out of the old place in the wrong order) and we had a fight that ended with her asking for a divorce. We had just bought a house and a creative project we did together had just premiered to critical acclaim, so I was taken aback. I was floored and she didn’t back down for a while. Ultimately it was because I wasn’t moving fast enough for her and she felt like she was carrying most of the weight (she wore the pants for the house purchase).
I took us to couples counseling, and tried to really work on some parts of myself I was neglecting, namely neediness, laziness, setting boundaries, and being more honest with myself and her. Three months later we were doing much better when she started talking about trying to get pregnant. We didn’t talk about it, she just assumed it and was mentioning it to people. I soon found out she meant to start trying right away and I pulled the brakes. We had just had a divorce scare and now she wanted to jump into having kids? I grew up witnessing my dad deal with 18 years of child support and how that broke him into a fearful cautious man. Plenty of which rubbed off on me I’m sure. I talked with friends and family who all advised me to wait for kids until we were in a better place as kids would add more stress.
This pissed her off and she began to treat friends and family as traitors, going so far as to call them up and say nasty, hurtful things and scolding me that I shouldn’t be talking to anyone about our problems. Over the course of the year, she would go back and forth between terrible fights and makeups, often over having kids before she’s too old. These were punctuated with her trying to throw me out, screaming matches, and abandoning the car while on the road. Stuff I would never think of doing. I told her I wouldn’t even think about having kids until we could prove that our relationship was on more solid ground.
I’ve been reading Mark Manson, Donald Glover, David Deida, and Jordan Peterson to try and grow into a better more self-actualized person with my own boundaries and goals, and I feel better about myself. I feel a duty and obligation to my marriage. I’ve managed to start fighting with her in a more healthy way and stand my ground more.
Despite all our problems, I’ve stuck with it and challenged her to confront her rage issues. She’s gone to therapy, and has gotten her eggs frozen. She’s gotten much better at being self-aware and less selfish, though she does fall back into old habits from time to time. She got a new high paying job and she’s apologized to my family, but held her ground against friends she doesn’t like.
We are at maybe four to five months of a more stable relationship and she wants to know about kids. I’m worn out and I feel like after fighting so long to prevent a divorce like it might be the right thing to do if we’re just not a good match. There is a lot of resentment from both sides and I think she’s willing to stick it out because she’s too old to start over, and because she’s come to terms with who I am. We love each other but there are differences in values.
I know the relationship I’m in isn’t totally healthy. I don’t have a lot of married friends, and my family isn’t the best role model for normal, so it’s hard for me to compare. I’m not sure if I’m just whining about big fights couples always have, or if I should be running for the hills. Not sure if I’m lucky to have her or if this is Stockholm syndrome. On the one hand, she’s beautiful, faithful, smart, ambitious and has a great job. On the other hand, she can be controlling, bullying, emotionally reasons, and breaks boundaries.
I’m full of anxiety about making the wrong choice now that I’m at a more stable place. Having kids could be an adventure, but if we split up afterward anyway, it’s a much worse divorce. I know only I can choose, but has anyone had similar issues?
TLDR - My ragey controlling wife has been demanding kids soon after asking for a divorce. After a road of broken boundaries, we’re now in a better place, but I’m questioning whether it’s worth it.