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Trapped in my marriage

(22 Posts)
Thisisnotmyusualnn Mon 14-Mar-16 19:57:56

Not sure why I'm posting really, just need to talk I guess. No-one irl I can turn to.

I am married to an alcoholic. I am the breadwinner and he is unemployed at the moment. Sporadic work over the years but nothing at the moment. I keep the roof over our heads but he won't leave. He has nowhere to go and no money to pay for anything.

So here we are. I could probably get him out if I filed for divorce but where will that get me? I can't afford to run two houses, even if I could afford the divorce (which I can't).

So I'm trapped. I know I deserve more than this but there is no way out (I'm familiar with the Cs - I know this isn't my fault and I can't cure him). It's not every day anymore and not in the quantities it used to be but even a small amount turns him into someone I despise. He's killed every last bit of love I once felt for him.

I knew on our wedding day that it was a mistake but I felt then I had no choice. Now I have even less.

If I'm totally honest with myself, in my darkest hours I wish he would die and leave me alone. I feel so awful about that but I can't see him ever leaving me any other way sad

I keep myself together for the dcs and shield them from his illness as much as I can but when they're in bed and I'm sitting in the dark I feel so alone.

clashofclanswidow Mon 14-Mar-16 20:02:57

Could he not claim unemployment benefits and housing benefits? I know it's not an ideal situation but if he's making his bed, he should lie in it and it's not fair you should suffer!

My Father was an alcoholic and passed away not long ago - I understand how crap you must feel flowers x

AnyFucker Mon 14-Mar-16 20:04:02

why would you need to run 2 houses if he left ?

he is not your dependant

and your children know, sorry

Thisisnotmyusualnn Mon 14-Mar-16 20:21:23

He would almost certainly get maintenance from me, I earn a decent wage. The law doesn't allow someone to carry their spouse for years and then withdraw all financial support when they want out. Rightly so in most cases. He has medical issues that any half decent lawyer would make enough of to justify a maintenance claim.

The children do know, I'm not naive enough to think they don't. I meant that I try to keep life as normal as I can for them. Least I can do considering I've saddled them with a father like this.

AnyFucker Mon 14-Mar-16 20:24:15

Pay him off to get rid of him. Show your children that they don't have to stay in a relationship that is damaging them.

lavenderhoney Mon 14-Mar-16 20:31:31

Who cares for the dc? Is he a sahd? How old are they?

You could go and see a lawyer and find out what he would be entitled to now in your current situation, then put plans in place to change that, ie, money in trust for DC, no joint account, get childcare in place, all that stuff. Then file for divorce. You would be protecting your children's assets as no doubt he will drink them.

How is he getting money to drink if he isn't working?

But ultimately you are not trapped. There is always a way. Keep posting flowers

Aussiemum78 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:31:36

You know you need to do this. It's getting the courage.

It took me a long time - what helped was starting a (reversible) leaving plan. I paid a few bills in advance, I saved a bit, when I did groceries I bought some grocery store vouchers. So basically I have few bills for a year and vouchers for groceries to take pressure off but unlike savings they aren't treated as an asset (the vouchers are secret).

I also told some friends. It helped me to get support and stop thinking it was my fault.

The more I got prepared and talked about it the easier it felt to just do it.

I've just left.

TaintForTheLikesOfWe Mon 14-Mar-16 20:33:19

Please sit down and look at the figures again. Even if you had to pay him maintenance (seek good advice) you may still be better off financially even if it's just 10p BUT think how much better off you would be in every other respect!! If you left he may drink himself to death inside a year anyway. Sorry if that seems callous but I have seen up close what drink does and the drinker often can help it they just hide behind it and choose not to.

Aussiemum78 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:33:35

Also, you are not responsible for him. He is choosing to drink and have no job. He can't be surprised you aren't happy.

lavenderhoney Mon 14-Mar-16 20:34:22

And actually no, you won't be expected to pay spousal maintenance, seek legal advice. All situations are different.

clashofclanswidow Mon 14-Mar-16 20:36:21

Please don't feel like you are to blame OP.

I suggest you look into the benefits system (I'm sorry, I am assuming here that you are UK based)

The only reason I say this is my Mum and Dad were still married and when he had to leave the "marital home" he received benefits.

Although he had "financial interest" in another property, it is not yet deemed as capital as it is not physical money than he can access, priod to any divorce proceedings going ahead.

Just because you are married to him, if you make the steps to seperate, there is support out there until you decide on divorce etc then I imaging he would receive government support in his own right initially, regardless of what your finances are as you are no longer a couple.

By all means yes, once the divorce starts that is a whole different story but it may be of help to look into as a starting point if you feel so trapped?

Marilynsbigsister Mon 14-Mar-16 20:54:19

I think you need to go and get some facts from a lawyer rather than assume your situation is as you think it is. Firstly. Spousal maintenance is rarely paid for long, if at all. If a woman has given up a career to take on childcare and looking after the home, then it can be awarded for sufficient time to allow her back in the job market. Has your h been in this situation or does he just stay home because he is an alcoholic who has made no attempt to stop, doesn't look after the children and doesn't look after the house. You say he does sporadic work, so it doesn't sound like he is out of the job market because of lack of qualification, more by choice. This is a completely different scenario. Go get yourself some actual concrete information. Then you are in a better situation to make some informed choices.

Thisisnotmyusualnn Mon 14-Mar-16 21:01:57

I would leave tomorrow if I could. That's not the answer though sadly, that just leaves him living in our family home at my expense (it's jointly mortgaged, I'm on the hook for the payments). Then I'd have to find the money for somewhere for me to live with the dcs. I've looked at rents, I just can't make the figures work.

I have no capital to pay him off with. Up to my eyes in debt as it is and bugger all equity in the house.

I might be able to persuade the courts that he should only be allowed supervised access but there's no guarantee. At least if we're together I have some control over what they're exposed to. It's not all bad by any means, there are good days when I'm not at work. He only drinks when he's alone (funded by stealing money from me, selling our possessions, an overdraft he got when he was last working).

I'm sorry to sound so negative when you're all just trying to help but I have spent years trying to find the way out. I don't think it exists in my situation.

Thisisnotmyusualnn Mon 14-Mar-16 21:03:13

He's not a sahd by the way. The dcs are cared for by me and childcare providers.

littleleftie Mon 14-Mar-16 21:08:47

Have you actually seen a solicitor and got proper legal advice?

I suspect you would be able to shelve selling the house until youngest child finishes full time education.

He would probably have to claim benefits to top up whatever maintenance you had to pay him.

To be honest, only a solicitor with all the facts and figures in front of them can advise you on this but it CAN be done. Do you really want to end it though? It doesn't really sound like you do.

goddessofsmallthings Mon 14-Mar-16 21:12:41

What are you saying about yourself?

You "knew it was a mistake" but you married him anyway. You knew it was a mistake but you chose to have more than one dc with him? You knew you were making mistake after mistake but you carried on to a point where all you can do now is make more errors of judgement?

If he's a certified alcoholic he'll be elibligle for council/social housing as a vulnerable adult and the state will pick up the tab for his rent and living costs in form of income support/PIP.

The issue is not so much one of him being awarded maintenance/spousal support from you as you being unable to claim much in the way of child maintenance from him.

I would beg and borrow, but may draw the line at stealing, to riid myself of a millstone such as your h whose 'illness' has the potential to have a profoundly damaging effect on dcs, and I'd cheerfully gift him with a crate of Absinthe to drown his sorrows when he receives the petition to divorce.

Thisisnotmyusualnn Mon 14-Mar-16 21:25:21

I actually am a solicitor, although do not practice family law. Hadn't wanted to disclose that but I should have foreseen a recommendation to get advice.

So let's just conclude that I'm not completely clueless about his rights and mine.

Touch harsh there goddess but fair I guess. He wasn't an alcoholic when we married, the 'mistake' was because I knew he had quite serious mental illness problems and I'd be spending my life supporting us through periods when he couldn't work as a result. It wasn't until a few months after our dc1 was born that I realised alcohol was another problem I'd have to deal with.

AnyFucker Mon 14-Mar-16 21:35:17

If you are a solicitor, you will know that no one is "trapped"

If you are not ready to offload him, that is one thing. But if you wanted to end your marriage enough, you could. It would be unpleasant for quite some time, but it is possible.

Aussiemum78 Mon 14-Mar-16 22:00:45

Don't forget that while you might pay maintenance, you won't be paying for alcohol

goddessofsmallthings Tue 15-Mar-16 03:08:03

I always become deeply peed off depressed when I read of yet another professional, and therefore presumably intelligent, woman becoming hostage to a cocklodger who brings nothing to the table except liability, OP, but my words weren't intended to be harsh so much as plain speaking of the variety that is needed to cut through the crap of inaction that you appear to have resigned yourself to.

As I've made clear, I don't share your somewhat pessimistic view that you would be obliged to pay maintenance but, as you're in the business so to speak, I suggest you reach out to colleagues/those you studied law with as you should at least be able to canvas opinions at mates rates, if not gratis.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 15-Mar-16 07:06:10

Alcoholism is truly a family disease; the alcoholic is not the only one at all affected.

Your H has basically self medicated his MH issues through alcohol and now is alcohol dependent as well. I can see why he won't readily leave (and they all say that to keep their spouse in check); he has it made really with you.

What do you get out of this relationship now?. You also need to ask yourself that question too.

I also think you need to seek more legal advice about your situation rather than using your own inaction and inertia to keep you and by turn your kids further within this. That is only hurting you and your children now.

Did you grow up seeing similar btw?. What sort of a relationship example did your parents show you?.

You cannot fully shield your children from his alcoholism and you are simply doing the usual roles associated with such spouses; you are both his provoker (you never forget) and enabler here. You probably are co-dependent also when it comes to relationships too (many relationships with alcoholics feature co-dependent behaviours from the non alcoholic). All this about running two homes; what makes you think you are that responsible for him?. You are not responsible for him.

All this from the two of you is very emotionally damaging for your children to witness. What do you think they are learning here about relationships?. I will tell you - a shedload of damaging lessons.

Your own recovery from his alcoholism will only properly start once you and he are apart. You need to get off the merry go around that is alcoholism.

Thisisnotmyusualnn Mon 07-Nov-16 19:21:42

Update for those kind enough to have replied to my thread initially. Apologies for not responding to the last few posts, I hate it when ops do that!

So I finally got legal advice today. I came away pretty demoralised tbh. The solicitor said that it was 'unlikely' that dh would get spousal maintenance, but he could not rule it out because of the size of the gap between his earning potential and my actual earnings (not enormous by any means btw, but several times what dh could earn if he were working). He recommended that it be something we try to 'buy off' as part of the financial settlement. I would almost certainly have to pay him some capital based on the value of our assets (although he was not working off actual figures today as this was an initial consultation). Again, not huge assets and not easy cash either. They are approximately equal to the debts that I have always seen as ours, but strictly speaking they are in my sole name, which complicates things but ought to be taken into account somewhere in the settlement. The Court starts at 50:50 and then works out what is 'fair'. In our case, it is unlikely they would agree that it is fair for him to receive nothing (sadly). Not to mention the fact that I am looking at costs of £3-5k just to get everything sorted.

The hardest part was the dcs. He agreed that in the first instance the Court would not criticise me for offering no more than supervised access. However, the Court would want to 'move us on' from that if dh could prove he had recognised his problem and was taking steps to deal with it, e.g. by turning up for access sober for a specified period of time. Dh does not drink every day, he would have no difficulty presenting himself as sober for weekly contact. It terrifies me the thought of handing over my dcs for unsupervised contact down the line when he may or may not have dealt with his problem but 'played the game'. At least now I have a certain element of control over what they are exposed to (and obviously do as much as I can to shield them from his problem). Once we got to unsupervised contact, I would be powerless to prevent any harm (which they would have to be exposed to before he lost the right to unsupervised contact).

So I still feel as trapped as I ever did. I have a lot of thinking to do, because pursuing the divorce is not the straightforward easy option that it ought to be. The only bright side is that me seeing a solicitor has (in his words) "given me a rocket up the a***" and he has spent the day making strenuous efforts to find a job. I am not holding my breath of course.

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