I'm not sure what to do about my marriage. Most of the problem as I see it, is alcohol.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (60 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been married for three years, second marriage for both of us. We have children from previous relationships/marriages and a one year old together. In the beginning, our relationship was quite wonderful and fufilling. Now, he repulses me. He seems to be still quite in love with me, and tells me he loves me all the time, but when I say "I love you" back, I feel like I'm lying. It's not that he has "let himself go", he's not substantitally physically different than when we met. What is different is that he drinks far more than he used to. He'll drink nearly every night. He doesn't get violent or abusive when he drinks, he just gets slurry speech, becomes somewhat incoherent, and falls asleep/passes out (I'm never quite sure which). As far as I know, his drinking hasn't affected his job, and he never drives drunk. But still, I find it repulsive. When he does it in private, I feel annoyed and frustrated. When he does it in front of others, I feel angry and embarrassed.
There is also an issue of money-- we are currently struggling. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and he tells me that there isn't money for things I want or need, but yet there always seems to be enough money for beer or wine. This makes me feel incredibly resentful. I don't drive (due to phobia) and I'm afraid that if the baby or I get injured, he'll be too drunk to drive us to the hospital. There is always the ambulance, but I dread the thought of having something be wrong with the baby and the hospital staff seeing my husband being a drunken idiot. I threatened to leave him when I was pregnant because I was afraid I'd go into early labor and he'd be too drunk to drive. He reluctantly, bitterly stopped until the baby was born, then went right back to it. When I try to bring these issues up to him, he basically doesn't care, or says I'm being unreasonable. He used to try and say it was my fault for hassling him so much that I was "making" him drink; but that stopped when I pointed out how "textbook alcoholic" that sounded. If I do throw a huge fit and "make" him stop drinking, he generally is either so nasty (not abusive, but incredibly unpleasant and passive-aggressive) that I tell him to drink again so he'll stop, or he just brings home alcohol after a few days as if nothing had ever happened.
I don't really have many options, though. If I leave, I doubt I can get a job that will even re-coup the cost of daycare. The only relatives I have left that give a crap about me are in another state, but moving to another state would certainly start a custody battle over the baby; as the one with less (read: no) money, it doesn't seem likely I'll come out on top of that. Our state is on the restrictive end of child custody-- I know if we were separated, I couldn't move out of state with the child without his permission or a judge's. I may not even be able to move out of state with the child when we are not separated. I moved to another town to move in with him when we met, and all my friends in this town were my husband's friends first, and likely to take his side. I've fallen out of touch with my friends in my old town, so no options there.
I'm also not too hopeful about getting him in AA-- from what I've read, it's not any more successful than quitting drinking without AA. From what I've seen, people stop drinking successfully when they really want to-- and he shows no signs of wanting to. He seems to care about making me happy, but only if it doesn't get in the way of his drinking. Apart from the drinking, he's not so bad. But I suspect that being after drinking on his list of priorities has sapped my respect for him, and along with it my love and attraction. Things that never bothered me before now disgust me (smelly gas, dumb jokes, etc.) But I also don't want to separate my baby from his father-- he'd be terribly unhappy without his daddy.
So to sum up: I'm unhappy in my marriage, but seemingly not in physical danger. I've got no money and nowhere to go if I left. I don't want to get into a custody battle because I can't afford a lawyer, plus I think it will make the baby unhappy. I seem unable to convince him to stop drinking, but I hate being married to a drunk. Marriage counseling seems prohibitively expensive, and I suspect he'll resist because he doesn't want to be called out on his drinking problem. My only option seems to be to wait it out until the baby goes to school, and then get a job so I have some money and some options. Is this all there is?