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to get annoyed at my wife's all nighters?

89 replies

James72 · 02/06/2011 11:28

I'm a dad with a 2 year old and a 7 year old. My wife looks after the kids while I'm at work. I'm away on business next week so we agreed that I would take the day off today to give her a lie in. We'd arranged to have a nice lunch and then pick out a kitchen for our new house.

I went to bed around midnight. She was still up. She was still up at 8 in the morning when I woke. She was drunk, watching TV. She stumbled into bed and fell asleep with her clothes on.

She'd spilt a full glass of wine on the table and carpet and not made much effort to clean it up. Remnants from roll ups etc. I've just been cleaning it up.

My eldest knows something's amiss. He sees her drunk and asleep with her clothes on. He asked me if I was home to look after mummy because mummy's sick.

I think it's fine for my wife to let her hair down once in a while but we just came back from a weekend in Paris, so it's not like we haven't had fun recently. We went through a rough patch in our relationship at the end of last year and afterward we resolved things we agreed that the impromptu past 2am evenings would end.

Should I grin and bear it or is she being unreasonable?

OP posts:
PrivateParts · 02/06/2011 19:19

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ccpccp · 02/06/2011 19:19

Kick the bitch out James!

Nah only kidding.

Though you sound like a genuine sensible trusting type and she sounds like shes running to the drink to hide from something when you are around. Just how bad was your 'rough patch', and do you think there is anything shes not telling you?

TheFlyingOnion · 02/06/2011 19:26

hmm that sounds like a drink problem, OP.

What if one of the kids was ill in the night and she needed to do a run to the hospital?

Not "responsible drinking", imo....

springydaffs · 02/06/2011 19:26

Tackling an addiction isn't really anything to do with 'growing up' and definitely not about 'getting a grip'. Addictions usually start because someone can't - or doesn't know how to, haven't been given the tools to - deal with unbearable emotional pain, and the only way to bear it is to 'check out' every once in a while. The hope of being able to check out keeps an addict going between times.

Imo an addict deserves our heartfelt compassion. They are suffering very, very deeply. Whatever caused the unbearble emotional damage wasn't processed at the time - for a myriad reasons - or at any time, also for various reasons. Addicts are usually stuck and feel totally hopeless, can't conceive of ever healing from whatever caused the damage.

BUT you have to be absolutely ruthless with an addict - which takes a lot of research (and support) and humility to know how to be ruthless and why. Addiction is deadly and you'd be a fool to tackle it on your own it - it will make mincemeat of you if you do. Your wife sounds to me that she is an alcoholic James. If you berate her you will drive her deeper into her addiction. If you are kind to her she will sneak it past you. It is a vile and vicious disease, gobbles up anyone in its path (primarily the addict of course Sad). One of the main problems is usually that the addict is in total denial - a hallmark of addiction. They sit in the eye of the storm, at perfect peace (because they have their anaesthetic - or the promise of it, later; and are in denial about the pain that drives them to check out - which is, by now, a habit), whilst around them everyone is in chaos: their un-owned unbearable emotional pain becomes yours.

Al Anon James. It's not a pleasant place to be but infinitely better than being slowly destroyed by the pain of being in an intimate relatonship with an addict/ the intractability of the addiction.

oh and btw, an addict is very often in a relationship with an addict, so try not to point the finger too readily - some addictions aren't so easy to spot.

springydaffs · 02/06/2011 19:32

Sorry to sound such a know-all! I hate this disease because of how much it destroys everybody in and around it. I also hate it when people are unkind and judgmental about it.

DollyTwat · 02/06/2011 20:05

My ex is a recovering alcoholic
He wouldnt drink every night either, but wouldn't stop once he'd started. It got worse and worse over the years

My definition of an alcoholic is this

When it starts to cost you more than money it's a problem

She will only deal with it when she's ready and perhaps when things are very bad. Only she will know that time though

DollyTwat · 02/06/2011 20:10

And it's worth pointing out op that I had no idea how much he was drinking til I heard him talking to the guy from aa

I could never understand how he was always more drunk than e eryone else, but he would have had 3 or 4 at the bar. That's why he was always buying rounds.

Tambern · 02/06/2011 20:11

I can't believe the number of people accusing the poor woman of alcoholism, drug usage and all sorts of things! I'm guessing every person here is a saint who never goes beyond one glass of wine with their dinner.

It's perfectly obvious. She thought 'oh I can have a lie in anyway since he's home, and it'll be a bit of time before I get the chance to do this again, so why shouldn't I have a drink.' She is not obligated to go to bed at the same time as you, nor if she doesn't have to be awake does she have to go to bed at a set time.

Rather than jumping to alcoholism, it might be an idea to evaluate your own behaviour in regards to her. Is there a reason why drinking on the sofa might be preferable to going to bed at midnight?

If she did this on a regular basis, then you'd have cause to worry. But a once off. And spilling a glass of wine that she didn't clean up perfectly? Is she your maid or something?

Tambern · 02/06/2011 20:18

Oh and as for 'she leads a less glamorous life at home, while I've grown in status,' that made me Hmm since it sounds like something YOU think, rather than her.

And the 'I want to spend family time before I go away' that's fair and reasonable. But you have to accept that life doesn't revolve around you. You work hard obviously, but that doesn't mean that when you want family time that it has to be ready and waiting for you. When you're away working she has a separate life that she has to run.

AuntiePickleBottom · 02/06/2011 20:35

is she bored, what do you do together in the evening.

Happylander · 02/06/2011 20:44

If this helps and hopefully without me being called an alcoholic!! I sometimes feel the urge to get absolutely steaming drunk and it is to forget who I am and the day to stresses of life and other such crap. Looking after kids without a partner there is tiring and demanding and she was probably gearing herself up for that. However, I could not last until 8am (can't last until 11pm!!) that is pretty hardcore and suggests she drinks more than you think/know.

Maybe she is bored and feels she has lost her sense of self since having children. Maybe she felt that she does not get to have anytime to herself so stayed up late so she could do this.

SpringchickenGoldBrass · 02/06/2011 20:54

I am someone who is very partial to a drink. I do not, however, have a problem. I do sit up late at night sometimes with a couple of cans, but am always functional the next day. I am concerned about the OP's DW purely because her 7-year-old is expressing concern which suggests that her drinking is causing him distress. up all night and being sick on yourself on a regular basis seriously suggests that something isn't right.

However, something in the tone of your posts, James, suggests that you see your wife as a naughty irresponsible child you are in charge of, and that it's up to you to give her permission to drink. But this could be because she has had a drink problem for a while and you have been struggling with it, not unreasonably and have kind of lapsed into the role of parenting her. However, was the rough patch in your relationship anything to do with your behaviour?

lubberlich · 02/06/2011 20:54

I am with Tambern - there is some awful pop psychology going on here. The woman has had the occasional boozy bender and spilt a bit of wine, she isn't out scoring crack FFS.

Go and talk to your wife. If I found out that my old man had been posting stuff like this on sodding Mumsnet I'd have his balls for breakfast.
With a nice Chianti. Grin

RudeEnglishLady · 02/06/2011 21:01

Admittedly, staying up all night getting hammered is problem behaviour when you've got children. And I totally would be wanting to talk about it seriously, but.. when children are driving you mad there is something absolutely magical about the hours when they are in bed asleep. I could imagine myself staying up all night even if I was knackered. My husband travels for business quite regularly for up to 2 weeks at a time and sometimes I do find myself up till 2am watching DVDs even though I'd be better off in bed.

I don't drink when I'm on my own - in case I have to put out a fire or perform the heimlich manouvre or something. I think its the binge drinking thats worth discussing but I really get the staying up late thing.

FabbyChic · 02/06/2011 21:02

Does she have a drink problem? Any one who drinks alone is erring towards the having a problem corner.

RudeEnglishLady · 02/06/2011 21:03

Oh and if I had to go and look at kitchens on my last day before I'm parenting alone for a week... I might get pissed too! Grin

cerealqueen · 02/06/2011 21:06

YANBU. Is it just alcohol, as all night drinking she'd have passed out surely... was she taking anything else do you think?

PinkSchmoo · 02/06/2011 21:11

James, my father is a functioning alcoholic and has been for many years and to me it sounds like your DW is one also.
I've known for as long as I can remember that at times drink came first and it sounds to me like your 7 yo may be reaching that point.
It also sounds like you are trying to hide the signs of her drinking from your children. Remember my mother doing this.
I think you need to realise she has a problem and try to get her to do the same.
As for those who say you shouldn't be posting on here they seem to have missed the point of MN. Maybe you'd get a better response if you messed around with the genders.
I'd also say do you really know how much or how often she drinks? You are away with work at times, does she use this as an opportunity to hide drinking? Are there signs she is drinking secretly?

Thingumy · 02/06/2011 21:12

I like a drink myself but I cannot remember a time I've ever stayed up drinking until 8 am (maybe 2am occasion when friends have stayed over), but then thats just me,I know there is no way in hell I could function normally with 2 children that day.

Who knows if the OP's wife is a alcoholic or has a drink problem but we can go by his post and say that her drinking does effect their lives.

James72 · 02/06/2011 21:22

I had a conversation with her. I told her she was out of order and that it wasn't fair. I reminded her that she'd agreed to end the impromptu all nighters. She told me it was only one night, which is true (she hasn't gone through the night since Christmas).

I told her I thought she might have a drinking problem. That our son noticed and friends had noticed. I told her I called some AA groups who said it sounded like she had a problem. I told her she spoilt my night at a restaurant last night when she could barely stand. She told me she doesn't have a drinking problem but said she'd think about it and the binge drinking would end. She didn't like hearing that our son had noticed something was up.

The conversation lasted less than a minute. She shuts off when she knows she's in the wrong. She seemed embarrassed.

OP posts:
PacificDogwood · 02/06/2011 21:22

James, your DW very clearly has a problem with drinking from what you are saying. I am glad you contacted Al-Anon.

The phrase 'alcoholic' is not terribly helpful because it often conjures up images of unkempt, smelly old men whose hands shake when they wake up in the morning and need a drink to 'steady their nerves'. That kind of of physical addiction does of course exist, but there are many more people whose alcohol consumption interferes with and doesn't enhance their lives.

This screening tool is often used to assess how harmful somebody's drinking is. To be used by HCP but I thought might help to put her drinking behaviour into perspective.

PacificDogwood · 02/06/2011 21:23

x-posted with you, james

invertedsnobbery · 02/06/2011 21:33

An "alcoholic" is a a layman's term for someone who is alcohol dependent and gets physical withdrawal - your wife is clearly not that. She does however binge drink excessively which is hazardous/harmful behaviour.

I think your wife may have mental health issues that lead her to behave in this way and probably needs the correct psychological help. It's the type of behaviour most people grow out of by the age of around 21. She sounds deeply unhappy/uncontented to me and you alone are not able to fix that.

Get some help...

Tambern · 02/06/2011 21:42

Spoiling your night? She is going to be singlehandedly looking after your children for a week while you're off on business. Your post is much more about how what she does affects your life negatively, than it is worry about your wife or even your child. Maybe she shut off from your conversation because she didn't want to be accused of being an alcoholic and a bad mother.

If you want to help your wife then rather than plan some sort of intervention where you complain about how unfair she's being to you, you might want to try and find out what's motivating her to drink.

The key thing is, she drank rather than go to bed with you, and that drinking wiped out the prospect of a day looking round kitchens with you. Her drinking is obviously a reaction to something. You say you had a rough patch in your marriage. Are you sure that that is cleared up? Was it a suspicion of cheating, depression, did she feel that being a SAHM was not for her?

Labelling her as an alcoholic is a very blame-laden thing. It puts the onus of proving she isn't on her, and it also disassociates your behaviour from hers. You're making it about the drinking, when the drinking isn't the real issue- you admitted yourself it doesn't negatively damage your life in any real fashion, the real problem is what is between you two that is damaging your communication?

James72 · 02/06/2011 21:51

Okay. I'm going to sign off. I don't think it's right to continue discussing this in a public forum.

I agree with Tamburn's point that she felt it was a last chance to let her hair down for a while and so she let off some steam. I don't think the binge drinking makes her an alcoholic but I don't think it's good for her or us. I think there's probably something beneath the surface that I'll try and talk through with her when the dust has settled. Maybe it's us. I don't know.

Thanks for all the comments. It's been food for thought. I'll take it from here.

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