Need marriage advice
I just joined this group because I feel I have nowhere else to turn. So I am hoping to find some helpful answers here, I know my problems are not as big as some, but they are big to me. Basically I have been married for almost 23 years and I have fallen out of love with my husband. This is really scary for me because we have two children. (One in college, one has a year left to go to college) My biggest fear is that I will hurt him and my children if I say anything. I have been keeping it in for almost three years now, but I am finding it harder and harder to pretend.
He is not a bad person, he is nice. He provides for us, he takes care of the lawn and keeps the outside looking good. He doesn’t beat me, or cheat on me. So I feel guilty that I have fallen out of love with him. On paper, he is not bad.
But let me tell you about the life I have lead for 23 years. My husband is an alcoholic, although if you ask him, it is not a problem because he goes to work every day and never drinks and drives. For years when the kids were small he would come home from work, eat and then do shots of Whiskey until he passed out on the couch in the basement. This left everything up to me. I am a pacifist. I don’t rock the boat, so I never said a word. I would take the children out and make sure they were quiet because “daddy works hard and is tired.” I hid everything I could from them. I would drive them to every game, outing, practice, etc. If I knew I needed him, I would have to let him know beforehand to not drink when he came home because I needed him to drive the kids somewhere. He would be fine with that, he would do what I needed him to do and then come home and have his shots.
Don’t get me wrong, he would go on the wagon, suffer depression for a while, and then hit it hard again. I drove everywhere; there was no question that I was the designated driver. It was understood. When our kids were small, I decided I wanted to return to college to get my BA degree. They were too small and I didn’t have any help so it didn’t really work. I waited until they were older and went back and completed my degree. The one thing I told him was that I was disappointed that I never walked with my graduating class for my AS degree and I really wanted to walk on this day and have my family there to cheer me on. I purchased the tickets for me and my husband and two children. They were about 12 and 9 at the time. The morning of my graduation he said, “I don’t think the kids are going to sit for the whole graduation, they are going to be annoying.” So I said we don’t have to go if you don’t want to, and we didn’t. I cry every time I think about this, and yes, it was my fault I should have just went alone but I wanted someone there to cheer me on. I have gained a lot of weight because I am an emotional eater; I keep everything bottled up, keep a smiling face, and shove food down my throat. So, that is another issue I am dealing with. He never tells me I am beautiful and never initiates intimacy. I have asked him to go to counseling many times, but he gets angry so I change the subject.
His family is dysfunctional. From the beginning his family was really mean to me. I dealt with it because I have a wonderful family and really didn’t take it too seriously. But after I had children, my mother-in-law would be so mean to my daughter. Finally, three years ago I got the courage to tell my mother-in-law where she could go. This is when the feelings started to disappear for my husband. He never stood up for me, and he never stood up for the children. We haven’t spoken to his parents in three years, and I really believe he blames me for it. But, my children are my life, if you mess with them, it won’t be pretty. There is so much more, but this is a start for me. I really need help, don’t know where to turn. There is nobody else, I have never cheated, and I know that he hasn’t either, but I would rather be alone that be with a man that makes me feel alone. He never wants to go anywhere, and if I ask him to go out with my friends and their spouses he says no. Thank you for listening. I appreciate any feedback.
You don't need to say anything to him, just start being the person you want to be. Join a gym, start eating better and be active. Take care of yourself, make new friends, get out and have fun. If he's paying attention, you might change his life too.
Thank you, I appreciate the advice. Trying to take life one day at a time. Been up every morning exercising so fingers are crossed.
- He's a SEMI-functioning alcoholic (can perform at work if not at home or socially).
- He has no further plans to clean up his act.
- Any prior attempts were made only under duress.
- And he's put paid to having to make any further attempts by having consistently made all prior ones feel like the worse experience than than the alcoholism itself (clever boy).
- His alcoholism (or should that read, his immaturity, laziness and irresponsibility) has deprived the children of a normal, carefree childhood and family life, including getting to behave in their own HOME like normal, high-volume, high energy kids and enjoying a normal working relationship with their own father. The product of single parenting in effect only, those kids haven't so much been fathered as haunted by a living corpse, a semi-friendly ghost.
- His alcoholism has deprived you of a proper marriage and relationship featuring proper husbandly moral and emotional support, loyalty, consistency thus reliability, hands-on co-parenting, basic love, romance and sex, etc....to the point now where you're self-harming via that pent up anger turning inwards (and blaming you) using food: indirect slow suicide, come, trying to lend yourself greater substance and presence, come, trying to give yourself a bigger fish to have to fry (distraction + minimisation).
- His family are no better (his mother, worse). Yours are apathetic where your problems are concerned (sorry - true).
Within the details: Your having always had to to PRE-WARN YOUR OWN ADULT HUSBAND to be on good behaviour (which to others, means, not a selfish, self-centred pr*ck); having had to PRE-BOOK HIM any time you needed him; having had to lie to and delude the kids; having had in large part to lie and delude yourself. ...On and on and on and on. I'd be here all day if I sat and listed all the ways in which you and your kids had been denied and deprived of normal, healthy, even basic standards. And yet, according to you, all of that makes him, quote, good on paper?
WHAT PAPER ARE WE TALKING ABOUT - TOILET ROLL?
Sorry, but your husband is abusive (by being abusive to himself and all who sail in him). Neglect is a form of abuse. A main form. It's battering. Maybe not constant punches and kicks to the body but certainly TO THE PSYCHE.
Never mind having finally ADMITTED his having managed to kick every single bit of love out of you, I'm just surprised that, kids or no kids, you managed to put UP with all of that for more than ONE decade.
It's a real shame you never got the opportunity to take yourself away for a good few weeks (a mum holiday) or you might before now have had the distance and regaining of perspective through which to have undergone this typical result: "Wait a minute, WHAT THE **CK?!?".
...like, 9 and 12, 'annoying'. Annoying? Incapable of sitting through a graduation ceremony? What did he think they were - 3 and 4? (Probably. He was either asleep or simply out of it for most of their growing up.)
I think that graduation statement of his should read, 'I can't be arsed, I don't know how to parent them, talk to them, relate to them... this isn't important to ME so..too much like hard work. Why don't you just bend over backwards as normal? I don't want to say all of that out-loud, though, so I'll just make out they're still unruly toddlers. I'm sure you'll get the gist, anyway (which is, No, don't want to and you can't make me, and if you try I'll make sure the day is ruined anyway!)."
Maybe it was himself he doubted could sit through the ceremony (without a drink)?
But - it was 'your fault for having wanted your husband and kids to cheer you on? So all those women out there receiving their degree certificates... They're all wrong for having the fundamental expectation of love and support from their family, mastheaded by their husbands, are they?
Or just you?
"is an alcoholic, although if you ask him, it is not a problem"
"For years when the kids were small he would come home from work, eat and then do shots of Whiskey until he passed out on the couch in the basement."
"This left everything up to me."
"make sure they were quiet because “daddy works hard and is tired.”"
"I knew I needed him, I would have to let him know beforehand to not drink when he came home"
So what exactly does he call 'a problem'? Finding out you've got terminal cancer- or, rather, since he cares mostly only about himself, HE HAS? Oh, his drink dependency is a problem, alright. On paper AND off.
"I am a pacifist. I don’t rock the boat, so I never said a word."
Then you're under-assertive. Saying that, however - no-one should even HAVE to say a word! What is he - a five-year-old in a grown-up's suit who equally has to be told how picking one's nose whilst shaking the boss's hand is "not what we do" because "people don't like it"? Oh, assuming said boss had remembered to PRE-BOOK your husband, that is!
I'm not surprised you've fallen out of love with this man, LYDIA. What surprises *me* is how come you managed to clock up even ONE decade of what's been not so much a marriage as a life sentence.
A good nap, was it? Wide awake, now, are we?
I'm thinking, not quite yet. Because: " it was my fault I should have just went alone". Again - seriously? And: "I know my problems are not as big as some". You clearly know nothing of the sort. And: "I have asked him to go to counseling many times, but he gets angry so I change the subject". Again - clever boy. He knows how to constantly get HIS way, doesn't he.
What, to you, would count as smelling salts? This 'emperor has no clothes' post of mine? Let's hope, shall we? And let's hope you secretly and silently book one or more free consultations with a couple of family law solicitors so that you know exactly where you'll (much more happily) stand if you were, whether now or in a year, to shed this, emotionally-speaking from your point of view, deadwood, ...passenger, ...PARASITE.
If it's a year,  sign up with your local Alcoholics Anonymous (they support victims of alcoholism as well) and  take serious heed of this warning: do not meantime let him get wind of the legal consultation. Not one sniff. Letting slip gives men like this the chance to start liquidating and hiding the marital wealth and assets in time for when the divorce courts order the wife (and kids) get half or more.
PS: Children who have been raised to have any sympathy for others, particularly those they love and who've been there for them their whole lives, tend not to see it as 'you hurting them' if as in this case they are old enough to appreciate that all you're doing is simply deciding you deserve some happiness for a change, while you still can, rather than continuing living your life in chronic (drip-drip) misery as an unwillingly Grade A martyr. ...On which note: you sound like, not being beaten or cheated on are things that go under the column headed, 'Why I Am Lucky', rather than its counterpart written under 'Ways In Which I Could Be Significantly Happier With A Healthy Man'. Where on earth did you get the warped idea that NOT getting treated like despised chattel in less subtle ways somehow makes you well off?
PPS: I'm betting if you booted him out he'd suddenly be all eager-beaver about seeking the professional help he clearly needs to clean up his entire act.
To SOULMATE: Great Post.I so appreciate your insight and advice. Have you publish any self help books?
And, Yeah. "Fly Fishing" by J. R. Hartley.
Want his-I mean my address as well?
(can't kick me from there, ...worst luck)
Soulmate, thank you. What an eye opener. I really needed that. I think I may frame it at my office and read everyday. I am working hard everyday now, I feel empowered and I appreciate all the advice.
Am confused because I posted a response a few days back, as well as in response to another poster's message (to tick them off for their insensitivity and unrealism), saw them 'take' and yet today they're not on here. Another poster's just reported the same thing on his thread. Am looking into it but, meanwhile, what I basically said (apart from, you're welcome) was that you also needed to open your eyes about why you never felt confident enough to assert your needs and demands in any real and meaningful way as could (one would hope!) have supplied your husband the motivation to have sought help with "his Royal Highness's" problem rather than expecting you and the kids to bend over backwards to accommodate and assimilate it into your routine, day-to-day lifestyles (outrageous attitude!). I'm talking bud-nipping.