I am facing down the very real possibility of losing the best thing that ever happened to me and it is killing me.
The BEST thing... someone who stone walls you, picks fights with you, being,
really mean and cruel when all I really needed from him was to just be nice to me.
Look, I was nearly 22 when my dad died of cancer during my senior year of college. Married at 24, mom by 27. Became Catholic, got ostracized from my family, ALL of it. Through all of that... my H (then BF and then fiancé) was gentle, kind and caring. He was the best thing that happened to me in that time. What I'm trying to say to you is, I can relate.
Your identity is only just truly emerging as an adult in those years (I'm 40 now). You're learning who you are as an independent adult, as a lover, as a mother and wife ALL AT THE SAME TIME. ALL WHILE BEING ORPHANED. There were some red flags I minimized in my H when we were dating/engaged that got submerged under all the chaos of graduation, job hunt, mourning my dad, dealing with mothering my mother (who was a lunatic at that time). You've had a LOT to sort through in a VERY small time.
The fact that your BH was mean and cruel when you needed him most... is telling. He's emotionally abusive. It's emotional abuse to stonewall someone- not talking for weeks? That's emotional abuse. Being cruel when someone is in a vulnerable state (mourning the loss of a grandparent and parent in the same 2 month period??) is abuse.
I've been there too- unhappy with my M after I had PPD, was dealing with financial chaos, demeaning, critical H and his critical family. My own family's disownment and then the loss of any future possibility of children (him getting a vasectomy against my wishes). My marriage was hell... and then, H decided to attach himself to his "ideal" mother/wife/woman- my friend Deliah. It was "she does this, you should be more like her and do that. You should dress/cook/mother/housekeep/be a wife/do your hair/be skinny/decorate the house/act and talk like her" for a good 2 years.
My A started when my AP started being nice to me.
This made me have second thoughts about my marriage along with our previous issues.
He showed me that I was worthy of love, care, kindness and attention. I snapped when my son (9yo at the time) asked me to D his father on FATHER'S DAY- he was so unhappy. H was cold, critical and displeased with his own son to the point where DS picked up on it and was made miserable. I decided that I couldn't live like this anymore... but instead of choosing to D my H, I chose my A. Thinking, "who would want me anyway- H is likely right that I'm ugly/awful/worthless as a mother and wife- the only person who seems to like me is my AP and he's no prize either!"
I had no self esteem and was so broken down (also abused by my sister, mother and father as a kid- life is fun, right?)... I took whatever "kibbles" life had thrown my way (in the form of AP's cheap validation). I didn't believe that I deserved kindness and respect. I didn't believe that I could attain a healthy and happy sense of self and enjoy a positive and loving relationship with a man. I operated out of the belief that I was so inadequate that I had to accept whatever small pittance of love and affection came my way.
I don't know you- you've only posted once here- but your story sounds a lot like mine. Right now, if I can give you any advice, it would be to heal yourself first. If you try to heal your M before you and your BH heal... you're just going to be 2 unhealthy people in an unhealthy/abusive M. I'm learning that the relationship (M) can only be as healthy as the weakest partner. If you' don't want an unhealthy abusive M, do what YOU can do and heal yourself.
Yes, you chose an A instead of the D you needed. Yes, you're stuck with a man who abuses you emotionally and is capable of abusing you physically. Just because you made poor choices in the past doesn't mean that you have to keep making poor choices.
I agree with the other posters here who recommend IC. It was a literal lifesaver for me.