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Well, this stinks

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Relationship advice Howdy, y'all,

I'm a 44 year old guy from NJ, married and with twin daughters in grade school.

My wife and I have been married since 2002, and we'd always drank casually. About a year back, my wife had some problems at her job and started drinking more to sleep at night. You know how this ends up.

Last week, I found her secretly stashing wine in her closet, which she was "double dipping" - I always wondered how 1 glass of wine downstairs got her so hammered. She also had a secret phone and she was chatting with other men. To stop me from reading anything, she busted the phone.

The drinking really became nuts around last May. How do I know she was chatting with men? I caught her meeting a guy in a park last May. She was sexting and chatting with at least 8 guys. She says it never got farther than the park meeting, but you know that saying about "where there's smoke..." I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, but will take things with a grain of salt.

I don't want a divorce, but sometimes you don't get what you want. I would want custody of the kids if we did divorce. But, again, sometimes you don't what you want.

So, that's where I am now. She is resisting going into rehab. She gets mad when I try to go to Al Anon to learn to cope with her. She's a "highly functional" alcoholic with the alcoholism confined to after-hours.

As for me, I'm not perfect. Far from it. However, this past year has really put me through the wringer. I'm still trying to sort out what's next.

Best,
Dang

Well, this stinks

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Hey Dang,

Whoof... That's some sticky wicket. I'm no expert, when it comes to things such as this, so please don't be afraid to disagree with my advice I'm a out to give you.

I assume that you've brought this problem up with her, and she disapproves changing. Aside from divorce or separation, have you tried asking to go to a marriage counselor? Or maybe encourage her to go to an AA meeting with you?

Well, this stinks

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Agree with Antihero41590.

Furthermore:

""where there's smoke...""

Smoke? SHE SMASHED HER OWN PHONE RATHER THAN SIMPLY LET YOU LOOK IN IT! A *SECOND, SECRET* PHONE AT THAT! That's not 'no smoke without fire', that's 'NO RAGING INFERNO WITHOUT FIRE' and 'case closed!'. Plus, I think her booze is her way of removing her guilt and other inhibitions against continuing with committing adultery, so I imagine the cheating came first followed by the self-prescribed medication... which, if you know she started binging since May, means she started cheating slightly earlier on than that.

"She is resisting going into rehab. She gets mad when I try to go to Al Anon to learn to cope with her."

Because you might stop her and she's having JUST TOO MUCH *FUN*.

" She's a "highly functional" alcoholic with the alcoholism confined to after-hours."

In other words, she's showing she's in full control, i.e. not an addict that can't control her choices of action. I'm thinking she brought in the alcohol additionally to have a 'scapegoat' at the ready for you to blame, rather than blaming her.

"She gets mad when I try to go to Al Anon to learn to cope with her."

That translates to 'put up and shut up, I don't give a sh*t about your feelings'.

WHY doesn't she? Is this her, as she sees it, getting revenge or evening the playing field?

"She was sexting and chatting with at least 8 guys."
-plus-
"About a year back, my wife had some problems at her job "

EIGHT? ACTUALLY MET ONE? ***IN A PARK***???? Is this, by any chance, her trying to samplingly and 'safely' sidle into prostitution/escorting territory as some warped solution to the fact she wants out of the 9-to-5?

Well, this stinks

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Hey, thanks for the replies.

I agree with a lot of what is being said. It’s useful to add that my mother-in-law was a raging alcoholic and ended up dead at 59 due to complications from alcoholism and neglecting her health. I do see some shades of that here.

As for the prostitution idea brought up by SOULMATE, my wife has a very successful career and I don’t see that being the goal here. Cheating? Yeah, I’m 100% certain that there’s more that I don’t know. That’s one of the worst things. It could be worse than I imagine or my imagination might be taking me down some dark holes. That breaking the phone was better than me seeing it tells me it wasn’t going to make me very happy.

Regarding the career, my wife’s professional reputation would be destroyed by this. I prefer not to go there because it would not only cause great instability for her, but make it harder for her to help support the kids.

The guy I caught her meeting - they met for a first encounter in a park (where we frequently take our kids, actually). She met him and virtually all of the guys on Words With Friends. There’s a community match feature that connects you with people nearby. Basically like Tinder hidden in a Scrabble game.

The one guy who I know she met — I tracked him to his job and threatened that if he didn’t disappear, I’d send 200 pages of chat logs to his wife. He didn’t listen (tried to continue chatting on Kik Messenger), so I made good on my promise.

After our anniversary in London turned into a debacle due to her drinking and sexting (with a guy back home — (in fact, she used WIFI on the plane TO London to text him and my daughter was sitting beside her on the plane), I met with a lawyer a few days after we returned in August. I take what a divorce lawyer says as what it is, but she said “it sounds like you need a divorce.”

So, my priorities are as follows:

1) Determine whether a divorce is the only possible outcome.
2) Minimize the impact on the kids, and try to gain full custody (I’d want her at least supervised until she gets treated).
3) Get her help

As for Al Anon, the thing that concerns me is the consensus that a person must hit rockbottom before they can change. She hasn’t come close to rockbottom yet and, with young kids, I don’t want to allow it to happen under the same roof.

Lastly, the lawyer I consulted with advised me that audio recordings are legal in NJ and I’ve let my voice memo app on my phone run for hours capturing plenty of admissions re: her activities and drinking, drunken behavior, etc. I also have logs of some of the sexting chats. The sexting or meeting wouldn’t matter much when it comes to custody, but the alcohol and belligerency very well could.

I feel like everything is pointing towards divorce, but if mental illness or alcoholism is at play, I don’t want to abandon my wife. I had cancer about 10 years ago and she stuck by me. Some of the behavior can suggest bipolar disorder, which affects her brother, but that might just be a “reach” by me in trying to find a way to excuse her (and I don’t forgive her easily- I find it very hard to let it go, especially while its still happening).

ANTIHERO41590 , I'm going to a counselor on Thursday without my wife. She doesn't want to go because she says it always ends in divorce. I don't know if that's true, but her behavior will do it too. I told her that many end in divorce because by the time they get to a counselor, the marriage is already on the skids.

Dang

Well, this stinks

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Okay, not becoming a prositute. Just checking. But you can appreciate why. Not just the meeting in a park bit but the NUMBERS. She's searching according to some sort of profile, then, and coming up empty-handed (so far)...

"my mother-in-law was a raging alcoholic and ended up dead at 59 due to complications from alcoholism and neglecting her health. I do see some shades of that here."

...because, awwww, earwigo (and I'll BET you see shades!) - ANOTHER one lacking the imagination enough to work out, solely in his/her own head, what on earth their mum or dad had been playing at all those years ago, without it requiring a setting of a stage replete with co-stars upon which to re-enact it all first-hand (trying on her shoes, in other words, to 'tap into' her mother's past mentality). Mid-life crisis, anyone? Although, you can't really blame the MLC because, other people join a gym or buy a ridiculous sports car/whatever.

It doesn't take much to flick someone into that frame of mind - either a short, sharp but massive duress/shock or a drip-drip-drip that collects over time into the same quantum. But there had to have been duress already IN that collecting bucket. Protracted trouble at work will do it, tip them over - aaaand 'you are here'.

I suspect perhaps her mother met up with men on what should have remained 'child ground' as well. After all, think about it - were it only binge alcoholism she needed to 'stand in the shoes of' she could have had that done and dusted already - YEARS back, rather than waiting all this time until completely ensconced in marriage with kids. And it looks as if in this case the alcohol is her deliberate blindfold and earplugs to deny your otherwise ability to influence or stop the proceedings.

What does she think you are - her therapist? That you're going to sit by patiently for what could be another year, two years...FIVE, until she gets it all out of her system and finds the answers to the still-open and niggling questions that all centre around this: How COULD she have!?

So she's on a mission (and presumably sees counselling as admission of being some sort of failure).

How do you stop her? You can't. Not unless you get out 'the big guns'.

However, don't be so quick to dismiss a change in (cough!) career. Think about it, who CARES about a reputation that presumably (or hypothetically at this insufficient evidences point) will soon end up forever dead, buried and immaterial anyway? But I concede the phone destroying was probably just your wife's need to hide the OTT quantity, both in terms of numbers of 'co-star' applicants and amount of text and calls exchanged.

What do you MEAN hasn't hit rock-bottom? She stands inches from losing her motherly relationship with her own children, the relationship that founded them and everything she's worked so hard for for decades (or her whole life if you want to take it that far back)! And anyway, one person's rock-bottom is another's holiday resort. So what's HER idea of rock-bottom? THAT'S THE QUALIFIER (and you can tell whomever at Al Anon was too stupid to know that vital distinguisher). You sound like either you don't want to take the bull by the horns (yet) (understandable) or want to see how far she could go before stopping off her own bat. Which?

"I’d send 200 pages of chat logs to his wife. He didn’t listen (tried to continue chatting on Kik Messenger), so I made good on my promise. "

High Five! Not that I don't feel sorry for his wife for having had own choices and decisions taken off her or forced prematurely rather than getting to control her own show close, but, GIVEN a choice between rock or hard place, it's a darn sight better than being made to keep living like a mushroom - in the dark and fed sh*t - and wasting even MORE years with a dud.

"Some of the behavior can suggest bipolar disorder, which affects her brother, but that might just be a “reach” by me in trying to find a way to excuse her (and I don’t forgive her easily- I find it very hard to let it go, especially while its still happening). "

High Five again! And yes it IS under these sorts of circumstances preferable to have an illness to blame. But that doesn't rule it out. So why not accompany her to the doctor's and start eliminating these potentials from the enquiry table? Or would she refuse?

Here's the thing about abandoning / walking away. It's not automatically a show of weakness, it depends on the context. For example, ones spouse is stuck in a muddy pit with no way of getting herself out. You of course offer your hand. If she takes and uses it to pull herself up, bit by bit, then your not walking away counts as strength. If, however, each time you proffer it she uses it to try to pull you in WITH her, not walking away becomes weakness. So which are you doing, do you think? Or is the jury still too much out on that one?

"She doesn't want to go because she says it always ends in divorce."

How the hell does SHE know! Has she BEEN married with kids before, and to you, and been to counselling and seen it end in nothing but divorce? If not, she's talking ollocks and it's just yet another excuse.

It's an excuse because, without understanding the past that's been in whatever ways stunting her and holding her back (or which has just started to - say, because of the pertinent age one of your kids has just hit), she doesn't know where she is and you can't get from G to K unless you know you're AT G or where on the map G is located. So this is pressing business. STUPID business, yes, but pressing nonetheless. Plus, as you rightly point out, counselling (according only to her) poses only a risk whereas how she's carrying on is a GUARANTEED splat. OR IS IT? She's got to believe it is before she'll play ball... them's the big-guns I mentioed. And she can't throw her loyalty during your cancer back at you because that one wasn't your fault. Granted, this technically isn't hers, either. But WHAT 'MEDICINE' she reaches for absolutely, completely, utterly *is*.

There's another bloke in your boat at the mo (albeit with differing details) - go see: http://www.peoplesproblems.org/showtopic/7871/Marriage.

"I told her that many end in divorce because by the time they get to a counselor, the marriage is already on the skids."

You're an highly intelligent and insightful blokie, aren't you. Opposites Attract: woman with no imagination (or no interplay capability between imagination and reality) pairs up with man with loads of it. You'll be fine, you know, whatever way this pans out. That I *do* guarantee.

When's the counselling session?

Well, this stinks

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Thanks, SOULMATE: I head off to my session at 1pm today.

My wife did go to see a psychiatrist yesterday (a different one- she had been dealing with depression previously), and *says* she discussed the alcohol. I'd like to think that this is what was discussed, but I'll reserve judgement (I did track her phone to the office where she normally goes).

She does have a hard time speaking in front of people and there is substantial social anxiety, so I do think that an AA meeting is scary for her. That said, something's gotta give.

My father in law knows a lot of what has been going on since I first discovered it in May, and I think it dates back at least to March -- at least. He was the one who steered me to Al-Anon. My wife's mom had been hiding alcohol in dresser drawers, etc. I can always smell it, so it was always odd not having found anything, but now I did, and she could not deny that she was caught red-handed.

By rockbottom, my mother-in-law kept falling further and further down and made a mess of her life and ended up dead. I want to make my wife realize that she's playing with fire, but at the same time understand her fragile state. A divorce petition could help her realize she's risking everything or it could push her off a cliff.

Dang

Well, this stinks

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Totally agree with SOSULMATE " She's got to believe it before she'll play ball" She has no reason to change because she's had no consequences. How many men would tolerate their wife being inappropriate with 8 MEN!!

I hope counseling will give you the strength to do what will improve not only your life but your children as well..I believe she wants a divorce but wants to be seen as You left her.

Well, this stinks

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("SOSULMATE " LOL, SK, you must secretly be Mystic Meg. I indeed *was* sozzled last night! Well, for me, anyway.)

Yes, 8 men. GAAAH! I'm surprised Dang's still standing, actually. But you didn't mention actual diagnosed depression before. That makes things slightly more understandable (if that's the right word) because it does necessitate one reverting to the purely selfish and self-absorbed anyway. However, don't, whatever you do, make that cause you to let her take liberties with you. I mean,

"and there is substantial social anxiety, so I do think that an AA meeting is scary for her. That said, something's gotta give. "

her so-called society anxiety isn't exactly stopping her from being sociable on that introductions site, is it. No anxiety about meeting total strangers THERE, right? Nor being 'the life and soul' in the run-up and during dates...THINK ABOUT IT: how on earth could she even PROGRESS to getting to meet someone in a park if she'd sounded like a wet-weekend in the texts/emails beforehand? Ain't gonna happen, is it... you're going to say, 'Yeah, thanks but no thanks, luv, not sure I fancy Satdee nights curled up on the sofa, slashing me wrists (neeext!)'.

...Actually, I've just talked myself out of giving her the benefit of the doubt over her so-called depression. If you're truly, clinically depressed then you can't even bother to get out of bed in the morning, or afterwards put a brush through your hair, let alone be all flighty and flirty or forage into 'stranger danger' territory. And that's just about when it's ONE co-illicit; we're talking EIGHT! Is that diagnosis a fact or just what she TOLD you? Trust me, when a person descends into the LITERALLY temporary, albeit mild, madness that is adulterer mentality (but which, note, is only 2-4 floors down from their particular normal penthouse height, not ten), they'll tell you absolutely anything - usually what they can sense you desperately want and need to hear - to keep having their cake and eating it.

"I want to make my wife realize that she's playing with fire,"

You're her husband, not her dad. (And only she chose to walk herself near any cliffs, no-one shoved her in a wheelbarrow and wheeled her there - au contraire!) But, yes, I do understand exactly how you're feeling, as does, obviously, Skinnygirl, how completely head-ucked, raw and lonely it makes you (little wonder when it seems not even your own teammate is on your side). Unfortunately, there are no magic formulas here, it's a gauntlet-run that life has plonked before you (for brilliant reasons as will come clear in time) and which isn't going to go away or away that easily, meaning, it's a process.

You can speed up a process, if you know how, but there's no taking any actual shortcuts or thumbing lifts, etc., out of a bid to be lazy-minded. It's a path. With an obstacle course. But I reiterate: it always leads to somewhere rather, either surprising or liberating or both... that much I guarantee you. For example: you don't know, this might be the actual MAKING of you... your marriage might have run its course and you're the intended of some other, much better for you woman that, as such, makes you more deliriously happy than you ever thought possible, let alone dreamed of. That's usually how it goes, anyway. So - chin up! And feel free to keep us posted as the need arises, including letting us know how counselling went.

Your motto from now on should be this: "Just keeeep swii-mming, just keeep swii-mming". Or this: Everything is always perfectly fine in the end so - if you're not fine then all that tells you is, it's not the end yet (berbom). Cheesy but true. :-)

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