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A thread of my very own (re. my DH/alcohol/etc)(76 Posts)
Hiya, have been posting on bushy's thread but not wanting to hijack so thought I'd start my own.
I am sitting here typing and about 4 feet away from me in the armchair is my DH, sound asleep. He has drunk a bottle of wine and a strong beer. By my reckoning in the past few days he has drunk around 6 bottles of wine and a few beers. However this thread is not to talk about him, or to talk about his alcohol issues because to be honest I've had enough of that! To be fair I suppose he did wait until the DD's were in bed to fall asleep - but last night he was asleep while X-factor was still on and was unable to even kiss the DD's good night.
I was driving home today from a training event I have been at and thinking how much I was NOT looking forward to coming home, to the atmosphere and my own feelings of anger and frustration. I was looking forward to seeing the DD's so badly, but not him. I think I just had this flash of the bleeding obvious which was that I am done in this relationship - I have had enough, I want out. If I'm honest I have wanted out for a long time. I just want to make sure it is done "properly". So I have been on Amazon and ordered some books about divorce. (and yes I have deleted my browsing history on amazon so the kids won't see them). I am wondering if it would be worth seeing a Relate counsellor by myself?
My worries about splitting up are basically firstly, his mental health. I realise I have codependency issues and that I can't own or control his mental state, but he does suffer from depression and anxiety and has been at times suicidal, at the moment he is not suicidal but very stressed/anxious (not helped of course by the drinking). I just don't want to make that worse, but at the same time of course all this is affecting my own mental health. I don't know if there is anything I can really do about that - I have previously spoken to his sister and she said to call her if I needed anything (or if he did) but she has her own issues to deal with.
Second thing is worries about the children. I can see this is a dysfunctional situation for them. However I am also very worried about the impact on them of us separating as they are very close and affectionate with DH and love him loads. DH works away from home and only comes home at weekends (which again is probably not helping) but I just can't imagine how it would work if we split.
Some of my worries are logistical - he couldn't get a house near here as he is already paying for accommodation near work. But it would not be suitable for the DD's to stay with him because his accommodation is just a single room, not like a proper home if you see what I mean. And if he did get a proper home near his work it would be a very long way for the DD's to go on a visit and very far from all their friends and what is familiar. Plus there is the issue of his drinking i.e I wouldn't want the DD's being with him unsupervised at night not because he would harm them but because he will just pass out when he has been drinking, I have often said the house could burn down around him and he would not hear. I did think well, he could come and stay with us - but that would hardly make sense would it!?
Older DD has just started secondary school and is a very sensitive soul, she tends to keep things bottled up and DH is quite good at getting her to open up - I feel she would blame me if we split, how could I help her cope? I feel like this is such a key time in her life. Equally I can see there is no "right" time to do this.
In the short term, we had been talking about booking a holiday for half term and the DD's were very excited about this (we didn't have a summer holiday). I am very clear I don't want to do this as a family but am wondering how to handle this and what to say to the DD's to explain why we are not going. I can't afford to take them by myself, and wouldn't like him taking them away without me for the reasons mentioned. What do you think?
I haven't said anything to DH yet about us separating (although we have spoken about it previously). I know he knows I'm unhappy though. I need to think about this as I want to be prepared for this conversation - maybe this is something Relate could help me with?
If you got this far, thanks for listening!!
Another update from me. Well after my last flurry of posts, I had pretty much decided just to lie low for a few weeks and just get through Christmas and then reassess the situation. In the meantime we have continued going to Relate, him on his own and then me on my own - we are supposed to go again as a couple after Christmas.
Meanwhile he has actually been trying hard at home, didn't have a drink for three weekends in a row, had been involved with the DD's, and to be honest I had actually been starting to enjoy his company. (However, we have been here before so I was not getting too excited about this).
Anyway about a week ago he came home from work and basically broke down in tears saying he was going to be given the push at work, and then saying that he wanted to kill himself. He has a history of depression and has been like this before but generally manages it with antidepressants. Anyway, he had a rough week at work, but managed to recover himself somewhat and carried on. However obviously was still very worried about finances/the future etc.
I must admit that this did make me feel more sympathetic towards him, he has really been having a tough time and I could tell that he was finding it hard. However at the same time I was thinking I didn't know if I could face helping/supporting him through yet another crisis - again, we have been here before.
Anyway he has called tonight and said that he has been officially given notice today. Great timing! It does genuinely sound as if the reasons for terminating his contract were political rather than performance based, he does work hard and has brought in some really good results in terms of revenue. So I don't really blame him as such, these things happen, but at the same time I wonder if in fact his drinking has affected his performance at work. It's hard to know as obviously I only get his side of the story.
I honestly don't know what to do. I feel I can't kick a man when he's down. However I also don't want to string him along thinking we have a future together when I'm not sure we do. It seems easy on paper to say leave him, but the reality is so much harder.
Teeny, nothing you say makes it sound like you like him, or he likes you, much at all. Please find the strength to leave.
What the other respondents have stated re your children. It is they I feel for the most.
Alcoholism is truly a family disease.
As for you teeny, who really does come first now?. You have a choice re him, your children do not. Their home lives are not completely stable due partly to them having a emotionally absent drunkard as a father. They are already living in a home that looks okay on the surface but its not really great is it.
The effects of all this on them may not become fully apparant either to them till adulthood and such time as they form their own adult relationships. They may well blame you by wondering why you never left years earlier. I sincerely hope they do not make the same errors that you have in choosing a partner but they have already learnt many damaging lessons from both of you. They already feel very responsible for their Dad and always want his approval, they want this from both of you.
Teeny have followed you here from your AIBU thread and just wanted to second what ErikNorseman said - it's not about the kids loving him so much that they'll be damaged by a split.
It's about the fact that they can't rely on him to be there all the time, it is about the fact that they sense that they're not the most important thing in his life (alcohol is), and they can sense the distance between him and them. They are desperately trying to claw him back by being lovely and affectionate in the hopes that it might make him love them more
It's a similar approach that someone might take when they feel that their partner is pulling away from them and becoming cold with them - you start to be "better", accommodate, change yourself, show extra attention, do anything to stop them leaving. And, unfortunately, if you don't take action soon, then your children will find themselves doing exactly the same thing in their adult relationships with people they think they can "fix"...
Also my father was crap (so is my mother but that's a different story) and I have always been glad they divorced, living with him would have been awful.
Still when they were splitting up apparently I made them hold hands. It is hard for children when parents split up, but it can definitely be the best thing all the same!
Teeny you put a lot of weight on how much your children 'love' their father and would be upset if you split. Actually you have more than once described the behaviour of an anxious child who is looking for affection from a parent. It may be because he is physically absent or emotionally but your kids seem to be picking up on that already. I suspect it's emotional absence they feel, as children with good attachments will manage fine with less regular contact with a parent. It may also be because they have watched you placate an emotionally abusive man and are learning to do the same. The thought of what that may do to their future relationships is scary
Oh, yes, and what Tribpot says, Divorce is not the worst thing in the world. It's got to be better to have parents living apart and at least one of them being healthy and functioning, than living in a world of pain and insanity where no-one is functioning. I was actually happy - aged 12 - when my mum divorced my alcoholic dad. Actually, my mum is an alcoholic too, so perhaps I'm not a great example...
It's really good for me to read about what is happening to you because it reminds me that I am not going mad and that this is what alcoholics are like. At the moment it's "all my fault" that he is spending the second night with some bloody groupie of his band, because I refused to let him in the house because he was totally shitfaced. I had just got sick of him pissing on the furniture all the time.
I did slap him round the head last week - I know, NOT OK - but I have apologised repeatedly for it and it does not then give him permission to get shitfaced and sleep with groupies. I don't know if he's sleeping with her, to be honest, but I can't see why else a 39 year old married father of two would be staying at the flat of a girl in her early 20s, who also happens to be his Biggest Fan <swoon> etc.
Just like you, mine has said that it's the atmosphere at home that drives him to drink, which is ridiculous, because he was a washed-up drunk when I met him! He'd lost his job, girlfriend and flat through drinking and had moved back to his mum. Of course, according to him, it had nothing to do with him being an alcoholic: losing his job was the fault of his manager being overly fussy about time-keeping and the girlfriend was a psycho. You've got to marvel at the level of denial.
God knows why I thought I could change him. He told me himself last week that he's never going to change. So, I guess I will have to be the one to change. I'm going to Al-anon meetings but I think I can't be living with him any more if I am going to get well.
Things are a bit different in that I am the main breadwinner. He is in a band, and makes a respectable amount of money (he claims) yet I pay all the bills - even his mobile phone bill and musician's union membership! If I send him to the shop for milk, he'll buy 2 pints of milk (because he's too tight to spend "his" money on a 4 or 6 pinter) and a bottle of wine! I think I will be better off financially when I am rid of him, so at least I don't have that to worry about. The problem for me is childcare, because he does most of that. Although in the last couple of months, I've had to take several days off work because he's been too pissed to look after them, so he's not even any use to me in that role.
Anyway, it's bloody horrible. I feel like a total failure to be "giving up" on my marriage. But the alternative would be to give up on myself, and then my kids will suffer. I still hold out some hope that he might come to his senses when he sees that I am serious about leaving him, kick the booze, get himself into AA...but in reality, I know him, so I know that's not going to happen.
Funny, he says that this girl he's staying with "really understands" him and is the only person who can stop him drinking. The reality is that she doesn't understand him at all, which is why she's falling for his bullshit and, if he's limiting his drinking, I guarantee it's only because he doesn't want the embarrassment of pissing on her sofa.
Sorry - stupidly long, but that has made me feel a lot better. Phew! Maybe i can sleep now!
Best of luck to you Teeny. x
Right, so some thoughts for now.
Most alcoholics can go without drink for two days, esp if they have a point to prove (which he quite clearly does). Some can go two weeks or even two months, but still have a relationship with alcohol that defines every aspect of their lives. Two days and then a return to form.
People do not fall asleep on trains all the time. Drunk people do. A guy who was serious about mending trust issues would not do any of this.
Accusing you of bullying is a very easy way of undermining your confidence in your right to assert yourself. If you are no fun to live with, and abusing him, why does he want the marriage to continue?
Your views on divorce and its effects on children are ones I see a lot on Mumsnet and it makes me quite cross as a child of divorced parents. I did not have a 'broken home' (I know you haven't used that term). I had a home. I had a family. Yes it was complicated and there were a lot of people in it but I had parents who made the best choices they could after probably taking a wrong turn (they seem utterly unsuited to each other, but there you are). Frankly you've already made the bad choice - you've had children with someone who has either turned out to be flaky or was at the time you married him. Well, that happens. What you have to do now is make the best of a bad situation and staying together really, really does not seem like the best outcome.
His 'fresh air' comment was a threat, essentially. He has custody of the money, so you are obliged to stay with him.
Of course he wants you to stay together - you enable him.
And you need a counsellor who is actually on your side. I don't think the person you are seeing is helping greatly. You need to find a new dynamic that doesn't involve alcohol - no shit, sherlock. Yet he goes out and gets so leathered he falls asleep on the train.
He does not deserve your dds' unconditional love, but they deserve to be able to give it to him anyway. And they can do that if you are apart just as well as if you are together.
Hi, more musings from me. Trying to keep some perspective/sanity. Posted in AIBU last night about DH falling asleep on the train - to cut a long story short he had been drinking, fell asleep, missed his stop, could not get a taxi back (live in v. rural area) and ended up spending the night in a hotel.
Anyway, I raised it with him tonight when I got home (he was not here when I left this morning) and we ended up having a bit of a shouting match. He said he feels "bullied" by me, that I never give him any credit, that I am always focussing on his faults. Apparently I have no idea how hard he works or how tired he gets or how stressful his life is. I am no fun to live with, I shout at the children all the time, etc. He hates coming home and lives in fear of the abuse I will give him. Apparently people fall asleep on trains "all the time", and if we lived somewhere normal i.e with taxis it would not be an issue as he would have been able to get home. Apparently me having to bring the disappointed DD's home from the station without him and put them to bed not knowing where their Dad was, was "not really that bad".
He pointed out that he did not have a drink all last weekend (which is true actually) and that I should give him credit for that instead of focussing on this one issue. He said he wants to "get better" but that I am not helping.
Please help - I am not being unreasonable, am I??? He has this way of making it seem as if I am. I am actually starting to think that he is bullying me - for example he was asking me what I would live on if we split up - fresh air? i.e making it seem as if I have no choices.
Normal people do not do these things, right??
Lundy Bancroft makes the point that if someone has mistreated another person they should go out of their way to make amends, show they are sorry, make the other person feel loved and secure. He still seems to think he has done nothing wrong, that I am being unfair and unreasonable in my demands.
Once again I have had to watch the girls wanting to hug and cuddle him, saying how much they love their Daddy etc. It makes me mad as I think he does not deserve this - he lets them down. My lovely Dad who died last year would never in a million years have fallen asleep on a train knowing my Mum and me were waiting for him at the other end! He would have been the one moving heaven and earth to get home again safely. Is it fair to compare them?
One minute I am so 100% certain that we should end this. But I still feel guilty - I do not want to inflict this change on the DD's. I keep going over and over this in my mind. How do I get clarity and the strength to take action??
One step up and two steps back...
You're dragging your feet over this still. I know you need to be 100% sure but really you have written about your H now for the last 4 years and nothing much has changed in all that time re you and he. The children are caught in the crossfire. You're still both stuck on the merry go around and codependency cycles.
Re your comment:-
"At the same time though the counsellor was advising that we must break out of the dynamic we find ourselves in and this means finding new ways to be together as a family which absolutely must not involve alcohol - this is not by way of trying to pretend everything is okay, it's just a way of giving ourselves a bit of a break".
Pah. How on earth is that going to happen with the dynamics being as they are currently?. And how did that person suggest ways of getting out of this dynamic?. You're both stuck in the same dynamic as you have been for at least the last 4 years. He is not going to stop drinking; that is the be all and end all of his sorry existance. Alcohol is his primary relationship. He gets what he wants from you and the relationship because you are still there propping him up. You still get some inherent needs of yours met from this and that is also what keeps you within it. This is a man who after all is hardly at home during the week, gets drunk regularly in the evenings or on the weekend and has been recently actively looking at and posting on websites to seek other female company for dinner and sex!!. No of course you have not forgotten that, you have not forgotten any of it but even so Teeny you're still dragging this out and kidding yourself in the process that all may be well in the end if you just stick with the program. I do not think your H takes you at all seriously, he will promise the world and you will again go along with it. Denial is indeed a powerful force.
Re yor comment re Christmas and not wanting to separate so close to then, that comment is so fatuous it breaks my heart. There is and never will be a good time to leave. You will always come up with some excuse or occasion to delay the perhaps inevitable. Christmas is but two days after all.
Who really does come first now?. You have a choice re him, your children do not. Their home lives are not completely stable due partly to their drunkard for a father and they are already living in a home that looks okay on the surface but its not really great is it?. The effects of all this on them may not become fully apparant either to them or even you till adulthood and such time as they form their own adult relationships. They may well blame you by wondering why you never left years earlier. I sincerely hope they do not make the same errors that you have in choosing a partner but they have already learnt many damaging lessons from both of you. They probably already feel very responsible for their Dad and always want his approval.
Remember, you don't need to agree to divorce with your H. It took me quite a while to fully appreciate that if I wanted to divorce, I could instigate proceedings on my own...
Hi and thanks. Had another session at Relate yesterday which was good, we covered a lot of ground. I feel we are making progress and DH now realises how serious I am. Next week he is seeing the counsellor by himself, then I am seeing the counsellor by myself and then we are going to come together to review where we are. I am happy with that. I realise it seems a bit like we are dragging things out but I want to be 100% sure this is the right thing to do. At the same time though the counsellor was advising that we must break out of the dynamic we find ourselves in and this means finding new ways to be together as a family which absolutely must not involve alcohol - this is not by way of trying to pretend everything is okay, it's just a way of giving ourselves a bit of a break. We did talk about separation but I actually don't want us to physically separate (in the sense of DH moving out) this close to Christmas. Since DH is away most of the week anyway I feel I can still tolerate us living in the same house, at least for that long. So we shall see. Although an actual decision to divorce has not been made, I do feel much more in control and feel that DH now knows exactly how strongly I feel. I also feel that the counsellor is much more on board with my perspective.
I am so sorry.
When you are over the shock of this, you really need to think hard about what kind of family life you and your children can realistically expect with someone who treats you with such lack of consideration, love and respect.
It is only "OK" while you can tolerate it, but how long can you do that?
Hi all and thanks for your message. I am still struggling - for me personally I can totally see that there is no relationship and I want it over. But I still feel a lot of guilt about the DC's, when I think about a divorce I just focus on the emotional impact on them, about them being worse off financially and about the fact they will not have a "family" life in the normal sense. This morning DD2 came into our bed for a cuddle and was telling DH how much she had missed him and how much she loved him. Made me feel very bad to think I could soon be splitting up the family home. I just can't seem to get over this, even though I can also see that the current situation is not good for them. I also know that many children live with one parent and see the other some of the time, and that the reality would probably not be awful for them. In fact it might be better as I would hopefully be less stressed/anxious. Why am I having such difficulty with this? It seems as if splitting up is the obvious and natural thing to do and yet..still these doubts! I am driving myself insane with this.
Some of these "counsellors" make my blood boil. They are worse than useless.
Teeny, you're sounding strong, despite the v difficult circumstances.
weedy, ineffectual counsellor, and your H's total, transparent, self-serving bullshit! The DC will be OK, and anyway, they're not OK now, due to him!
Hi thanks both for your replies, I just wrote a long reply and managed to lose it, but just to say yes I totally agree with what you're saying and will stick to my guns. Appreciate the support.
What Fairenuff wrote.
Of course your H does not want to end the marriage; he gets what he wants out of it. I think you have got something from this up till now, why else would you have stayed. He has you as his emotional crutch to prop him up. He will do and say anything to get you to stay and further put up with his behaviours; it all comes to nothing ultimately and life just trundles on as before.
Relate counsellor was crap in my opinion so would not bother seeing this person again. You remember the 3 act play; this person is also enabling your H by not challenging him and making him face up to the consequences of his actions or even taking any responsibility for same. You're also in that play as well. Men like your H can and do manipulate counsellors and this is what I feel has happened here. You have thus not got a look in. Also I feel he has been again manipulative with regards to your children; he knows they are your weakest spot but is not above trying to use them as glue to further bind you and he together.
If you do have more counselling I would suggest that any subsequent sessions you attend are with a different counsellor and also importantly done on your own. You need to address your own codependency issues properly.
Teeny, you have every right to call a halt to this now and fully begin divorce proceedings; your children will not ultimately thank you for staying with such an individual if you chose to do so. You and this man should not be together any longer.
I was surprised the counsellor did not challenge him on that. In fact at one point the counsellor was talking about him going on these websites and quoted Paul Newman i.e you don't go out for a burger if you are getting steak at home!!
Change your counsellor. This one is not for you. This statement makes me quite angry on your behalf. Why is no-one listening to you? Seriously, do not go back to that one, insist on a different counsellor or go elsewhere.
DH said he knew it "didn't look good" and made lots of excuses about being really stressed at work, listed all the factors in his life that were causing him stress. He said he felt like our home was a hostile place where he was not welcome (except by the children) and that he needs to drink as a means of escape
Me, me, me. Blah, blah, blah. Wah, wah wah. You're right, he is not taking responsibility for his life. He wants you to stfu, get on with the childcare and housework, and leave him to drink in peace and have sex with other women. Don't buy it teeny, you are worth so much more than that.
He is still adamant that he thinks the marriage is worth saving
How? If none of it is his fault, presumably he means that you and you alone have the power to 'save' it. If he is already doing all the right things, then he doesn't have to change. Bollocks. Sorry but I am sure even he doesn't believe that, he is just saying what he can to make you keep putting up with him.
Be firm. When you go back (whether it's this counsellor, or preferrably another, just say that you have heard everything he has said and you still want to separate. You don't need to give reasons because you have already done that and they have been ignored. Even if your dh thinks the marriage is repairable, that is not what you want. You don't want to save it, you want to end it.
Teeny I work with children, some with quite challenging behaviour, and many have parents who tried to stay together for their kids. Eventually, perhaps inevitably, the parents do usually separate and, after just a few months, I start to see a change in the behaviour of these particular children.
Children are unsettled when their parents don't get along. It affects them in ways you might not see at home. They also need lots of support during the separation. But after that, when things settle down, you would be amazed at how happy and relaxed they can be. It's the uncertainty and the tension that affects them the worst, not the actual split.
So please do not let your dh use them as emotional blackmail to stay in an unhappy relationship. He is wrong. It is not better to stay together for them. They will be as confused and unhappy as you are.
Well we went to Relate yesterday and had a fairly frank and open conversation. It was very draining but also sort of cathartic.
DH admitted that yes he has been on the websites but also that it was just out of "curiosity", that he signed up a while ago, but that nothing has happened in terms of meeting anyone or taking it any further. I told him I just did not buy it, that I knew he had recently been online and regularly too. When I said I knew he had been online on Sunday he said it was because he was trying to shut his account down! I said I didn't believe him and that for me I had totally lost all trust and faith in him. I also said that it wasn't just about this episode but that it brought back issues from the past (too long and complicated to go into now) but it was all part of a pattern. I also said I had seen no change whatsoever in terms of his drinking. I said I felt that he was just ignoring what I had said about wanting a divorce.
DH said he knew it "didn't look good" and made lots of excuses about being really stressed at work, listed all the factors in his life that were causing him stress. He said he felt like our home was a hostile place where he was not welcome (except by the children) and that he needs to drink as a means of escape. I said I was sick of hearing him blame external circumstances, that there seems to be no sense of him taking responsibility for his life.
He is still adamant that he thinks the marriage is worth saving, and that the children would be worse off with us apart. I am not so sure, and have said so. I felt there was a bit of emotional blackmail going on here as he kept saying how close he is to them and how much they love him and how hard it would be for them if he moved out. So I slightly felt as if he was trying to put himself in the role of victim - and to be honest I was surprised the counsellor did not challenge him on that. In fact at one point the counsellor was talking about him going on these websites and quoted Paul Newman i.e you don't go out for a burger if you are getting steak at home!! Well I'm certainly not getting any frigging steak.
Overall it was useful in so much as I felt I was able to say the things I wanted to and be very honest in a way that I can't at home, but I was also left feeling frustrated. It still feels as if the emphasis is being put on where we go from here in terms of how to repair the relationship. But in a way that leaves me feeling that I am not being heard, as I feel it is not repairable. So we seem to be somewhat stuck.
We have agreed to go again, and possibly each see the counsellor on our own.
It's very draining.
Hi yes I will be bringing it up and in the strongest possible terms! He is still doing his superdad routine (although was asleep on the sofa in an alcohol-induced stupor by 10.00 last night). He has been online today though while he was supposed to be doing his "accounts". I was tempted to instant message him!
Bring it up at Relate. Say that you found out about his cheating, told him and he is basically refusing to acknowledge it at all. They will ask him about that and you can watch him squirm
Seriously though, you can be clear with the counsellor that there is nothing left in this relationship and you would like them to help you separate. It's nice that he's spending time with with the kids but he should be doing that anyway, because he wants to, not just try and gain something for himself. He is just using them
Hi thanks yes I am sure he will, he normally does delete the history on his laptop (isn't that in itself a bit odd?) but had overlooked this one, he also didn't know I knew the password to his phone which has all his gmail on it (which he has since changed again, by the way). It was the gmail which gave it all away. Anyway I have copied and pasted the profile he put on illicit encounters and e-mailed it to a friend, for safe keeping. It contains phrases which are very unique to him and it is clearly recogniseable as being him, plus his actual name is part of his log in ID. So even if he deletes it I have a record. Not that it matters, as you said, I know now.
First thing this morning he told me all about how stressed he has been at work, how he is having such a hard time blah blah. It's as if he thinks that somehow excuses his behaviour.
He has been a model husband all morning - emptying the dishwasher, taking out the bins, now he is playing bloody monopoly with DD2 FFS. Perhaps he thinks if he ignores what I said last night it will go away. He has said he will come to Relate, so that's one thing.
He couldn't think of an excuse quick enough.
He will wipe his computer history and go on to deny it. Or he will make up some story.
But you know now what you're dealing with, so all you need to do is see it through. Well done for staying calm and getting it all out. If he doesn't go to relate, go on your own anyway, they can help you with separation x