I am conflicted/terrified to leave my addict husband , child involved
June 3, 2020 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I am conflicted on leaving my very long marriage with my sometimes abusive husband, who has also been an addict throughout our marriage.I also still love him very much ,and am financially independent enough to leave.My teenage child who adores their dad ( he is a great dad ) is pushing for me to leave and I really do not think I can ever do that ....I feel weak ,hopeless ,very fearful , miserable and stuck despite having a good job and knowing what the right thing to do is....I just can't do it more details inside.

Hi everyone.i am a forty something female and I have been reading metafilter for a long time , as I enjoy and learn from the ask metafilter site. I have been married for + 20 years and my partner and I are both working professionals..For some reason, despite asking my child to recheck the metafilter settings again for me, I am a bit paranoid about someone reading my post and figuring out who I am, lol so I will leave certain details out/or not be very specific.

Firstly I met and married my husband while we were students at varsity.We then both qualified ( him before me as I had my child at that time ).We both worked separately for many years...I stopped working for almost a decade then restarted last year.I have been miserable for many years with my husband, due to his addiction- which has resulted in financial issues , emotional abandonment as well as frustrating times.He is earning well ( by this country standards ) and is a functional addict.He has been addicted to many different things, however due to my privacy paranoia I will say he is a ' functional alcoholic ' ( he does not drink, so that's just the term il use.. Firstly , I suffer from chronic depression since my teenage years , I am on meds for that as well . I also have a an anxious personality and while the meds do help a lot with that , there are some triggers or some days, especially recently when I feel overwhelmed. My husband is, essentially a good man .He is loving ,helpful, very patient and kind to children and animals .He was both physically and verbally abused throughout his childhood ( by both his parents ,his mum is a bitter mean narcissist who hit him at times ,and his dad was a bully and very physically abusive .As a result he has high boundaries and issues with letting people in...but he trusts our child and is very attached to our pet as well .He is also very witty , religious ,and very intelligent.He is also very charming.

Ok so, the addiction I lived with for many years because I loved him ,but more importantly I did not feel i could cope without him. He has been physically abusive (+- 8 times In + 20 years ), that stopped years ago .He is controlling , mean and insulting at times ,however he is also kind and sweet and loving alot ,and he does apologise when an incident occurs . Recently, after I started working again specifically ,I had had enough and asked him to leave< about two months ago . My child is of the view that , as much as they adore their dad , I am better off without him .However, a teenager ( albeit a legal adult )is also very young and optimistic and bright eyed and bushy tailed regarding dating options etc , lol. I am going for cbt and using my chronic meds....both of which are a lifesaver for me now.

However ,I had three important changes in my life recently which affected me alot .Two at work and then this.I dealt with the work things and am happy there again.However regarding this issue I am stuck.

My issue is yes , I CAN live alone ( physically and manage my life , do my job , manage my bills and be financially self sufficient etc ). Despite the enormous crime here ,I love in a safe area and safe building.Yet even though I know I can do it , I do not want to... because I live in a different city from my family , most of my friends work / busy and the child will be going abroad to study at the end of this year.I will be coming to an empty home daily and the pet is his (and I have agreed to let him take pet)...... I am also no spring chicken now , I am fit and quitre attractive ( in my humble opinion, lol )and I am quite an extrovert however at my age ,the pickings are slim .

Lastly I am very old fashioned and will not be able to sleep with a person before marriage ....so the casual scene is not for me.Although I wasn't sexually active ( in the biblical sense )with my partner for the last + ten years , I did do stuff for him in that department ...this was do to the addiction affecting his ability to relax / performance/ be there for me. So I have accepted that if I take him back I will have a roommate who will do groceries, at times contribute financially and hug / kiss me daily.That was what we had and that is what I will get if he comes back.i can also have / demanded better communication and no verbal abuse ( which he is sticking to ).

The second option of divorcing , leave me alone forever as yes , I may date etc but there's a very good chance, at my age, that I will end up alone till I die ( and friends etc don't fill the role of being there every day , I cannot replace the pet due to building bylaws long other story and I cannot have a roommate due to I will have to tolerate them if we don't get along and lose my privacy ) so plse don't suggest those options as I have been thinking for two months + those r not for me.

I am trying to work on my fear of bring alone and the anxiety that that entails, but I also know that I just cannot live or function at work with the anxiety & nor do I want to.My question is ,I know what my husband's faults are , I also know exactly what my weaknesses/strengths are.I am undergoing cbt and working on myself.

However , if I have accepted that I cannot live alone (ie from the emotinal aspect ) and really do not want to why can't my family and child just accept this.There is so much pushback ,and I have never ever told my family what goes on In My marriage .Why do I HAVE to be living alone ,they feel I must just stop focusing on a man etc but IS THAT do wrong ?I don't think I can do it because I don't think that weakness and fear of living without touch and knowing another soul was with you daily ,can be overcome.As much as everyone around me feel I have no need for a man ,I do and that is NOT a crime .Rather than be with a new man ,who will probably be a bigger a**hole and even worse/ do other shit.....I may as well stick to the defective one that I already have and who I know and love....nobody ever died from lack of sex , lolz....and it's not high on my priority list either..I guess.

I want to know if I'm really so wrong for choosing , with my eyes wide open , to take him back .What msge does this give my adult but teenage child ?If he died, I could live with that ,as it wasn't my choice .If I don't take him back I can see myself becoming a bitter person for allowing my self to let go of some one I loved just to spend my last 30 years of life alone .My child says I'm taking someone back for 5 g a month and to assist me with chores etc ( groc etc ) as most pple do have maids here , but it's alot more than that and why can't pple just accept this and say ok we understand??Sorry for the long post!
posted by SarahSarah to Human Relations (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It was a little tough to parse out your question(s) here, so I'm going to take a stab and apologize if I'm missing the mark or being too blunt.

You are making a lot of excuses to settle for a relationship that hardly satisfies the bare minimum of a marriage and the message you are sending your child is that it is better to be mostly unhappy than to be possibly, even briefly, alone.

As the child of a woman who did this, I am really hoping that you strongly reconsider this line of thinking. I could go on and on about why but I am not sure you are that interested in hearing it.
posted by sm1tten at 2:39 PM on June 3, 2020 [30 favorites]

If your family and child REALLY thought you would spend the rest of your life alone, bitter and neglected, then they wouldn't be pushing you to divorce. They have a higher opinion of you than you do of yourself.
posted by kingdead at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2020 [32 favorites]

This sounds like a very tough situation a long time in the making. It seems like you really feel stuck between a rock and a hard place here -- it sounds genuinely very difficult!

I don't feel like I am qualified to tell you what to choose here -- ultimately, it's your decision, and you have to do what you feel is right. I do have a couple of thoughts that might be use to you in that decision-making process, though.

1. You may have more options than you think. In my life, whenever I've gotten into a bind like this, where I believe that there are only two options and both of them are terrible, I am generally not seeing the full picture. I wonder if that might be the case here as well. It might be worth spending some time imagining other possibilities -- even if they seem ridiculous or unrealistic at first. What if you moved to another city (or even country)? What if you found a roommate? What if you ... [fill in the blank]. If you're having trouble even thinking of other possibilities, try an exercise: number a piece of paper from 1 to 25, and give yourself 10 minutes to fill in 25 scenarios for what your future could look like. You might discover some new possibilities that are worth considering.

2. It sounds like your child has been providing some much-needed emotional support. I truly believe that you need and deserve that emotional support. However, I don't think your child is the right person to provide it. Imagine, for instance, that you decided to leave your husband at your child's advice. If that worked out poorly (or was difficult in any way, which it might be even if it was overall a good thing for you), would your child then feel responsible? That's not fair to them. Like I said, though, you do deserve that emotional support and help as you're working through this difficult set of decisions. Therapy is a great option if you have access to it -- a therapist can be an ally and support for you, and help you work through some of these questions. Friends, trusted family members, clergy, and other folks can also be resources for you. Building up your support network will help no matter which path you choose.

I hope this is useful -- I'm sure other folks will also have insight to share.
posted by ourobouros at 2:43 PM on June 3, 2020 [12 favorites]

Getting divorced was the hardest thing I have done in my adult life. Starting the process was so, so hard. BEING divorced is a gift. It is life-changing and life-saving. There are no downsides. It is the best and most important thing you can do. Good luck. We are rooting for you.
posted by kate blank at 2:45 PM on June 3, 2020 [28 favorites]

I strongly recommend the podcast put out by Brene Brown where she interviews Glennon Doyle. It addresses the issue of what it means for your kids to live your life in a way that respects you.
posted by lab.beetle at 2:46 PM on June 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

I don't know how to edit my post so I'm adding this here.I already know about codependency and I am working with those issues in my cbt , so plse don't direct me to those sites/ links etc.
posted by SarahSarah at 2:48 PM on June 3, 2020

My father was an alcoholic. He was a nice man, not abusive, but my mother’s whole life was spent trying to keep him happy. It didn’t work - nothing she did ever worked. He drank more and more as time went on, and she finally left him when they were 55 years old, after 30 years of marriage. I was grown and out of the house by then. In the years since she left, my mother has become a full person for the first time. She makes decisions based on what makes her happy, she travels the world, she earns and spends and saves her money according to her own priorities. I feel so much grief for her knowing she stayed in that marriage for so many years primarily because she wanted my sister and I to have an intact family.

Listen to your child. They see what you could be, what you could have, if you started living for yourself. They want that for you. You deserve it.
posted by something something at 2:55 PM on June 3, 2020 [12 favorites]

Best answer: My last comment not trying to treadsit ; I have made it abundantly clear to my child that though they offer their Input at times, this is totally my decision and they are at the end of the day not my confidant/ friend ( we are very close ) but I am the parent.Secondly due to the field I work in ,I would have to write a board exam to practice in another country so I really ,at my age am not willing to do that. I am not lazy, but I just don't want to go through that + I love where I work and having family in this country.sorry for new msge
posted by SarahSarah at 2:59 PM on June 3, 2020

I would encourage you to contact a domestic violence agency, even if you haven’t made up your mind to leave. Most of them offer counseling, which could help you decide what to do. They don’t push you to leave, they just help you figure things out. If you are in the USA, you can go to DomesticShelters.org and plug in your zip code to find an agency near you. If you are outside the USA and can’t find help, send me a private message and I’ll help you. (I work for a domestic violence agency.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:59 PM on June 3, 2020 [6 favorites]

Do you know about the cycle of abuse? Because I think you need to to understand what's happening in your head.

Life is full of challenges and people are drawn to the familiar. The challenges of living alone & getting another pet & dating are new and strange to you, so your brain is giving them much more weight than the challenges and trauma inherent in living with an abusive addict whose own child who loves him is telling you to leave him.

If you just need a platonic roommate, there are lots of people looking for places to live. You can pick one who isn't on anything! And doesn't abuse you! You can also get a pet just for you.

You deserve better and your kid deserves better. It's scary to commit to big changes. That doesn't mean we should scrunch ourselves down to remain stagnant.
posted by Ahniya at 3:01 PM on June 3, 2020 [13 favorites]

On a purely logistical level:
Is your family in your current country? Could you move to where they are, given that your son is going to live away from home in any case? Can you get your own pet (even if that means moving to a different building)?
You mention that your friends are busy. Do you have much of a support network?
posted by trig at 3:06 PM on June 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I want to support you in making the decision that is right for you, even if it is a "best of bad options" compromise. At the same time, your descriptions of the alternatives is so bleak and so black and white, I am guessing that something (maybe fear?) it is making hard to think about the full range of possible options that could happen if you choose not to let him move back in with you. There are real obstacles, like licensing. And there some uncertainties - are you 100% sure that you will never find another partner? So many people who think that end up having the opposite experience (although it is true for some, it is not true for so many more)

Finally, you have only been living alone for two months. I didn't see any reason why you need to make a long term decision right now. Why not try living alone for long enough that you can really adjust to this new normal (6 or 12 months) and then decide if you want him back or you rather be single. It would also give you time to learn more about yourself and your pattern in therapy and have a more complete understanding of yourself and what you want for your life.
posted by metahawk at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2020 [13 favorites]

I can't speak to the abusive situation you are in. But I am a mid-40s woman with teenage kids who recently divorced. I too was worried that "pickings are slim," and certainly there's a lot of information out there telling women our age that we are old and ugly (even if we have better self esteem than that) and not to bother trying to make our lives better. My marriage wasn't like yours; it wasn't abusive.

But still, I am so much happier being divorced. My dating life has been lively and delightful. There are some truly lovely men our age (and sometimes younger!) who are available for dating and relationships. I am closer to my current partner than I ever was to my husband. We have a lovely friendship and intimacy.

But here's the thing: even if I wasn't in this relationship, I'd be much happier single and dating, or even single, than I was being in an unhappy marriage. You might not be able to see that from here. But there's more to your choices than being in an abusive marriage or being miserably alone and single. I promise.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2020 [21 favorites]

You may be alone for a period of time, and it will be hard, but you seem to think leaving your abusive husband will mean you will be alone forever, or wind up with someone worse. Those are only two possibilities.

Other possibilities include: you may find that, once you are out of an abusive situation, you LIKE being single; you may find someone much, much better to settle down with; you may find many new men to date and have fun playing the field for a while. Don’t rob yourself of these possibilities!!
posted by kapers at 3:15 PM on June 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The way you've written your question, and your subsequent comments, have basically cut off any advice other than "you're right, stay where you are in this lonely marriage and be miserable." Everything is a definite: you WILL be alone and untouched for the rest of your life, you WILL never have a pet because of the living situation, you CAN'T have a roommate. Gently -- this is some crap you're telling yourself. None of this has to be true. I know what it's like to think, eh, the devil I know is better than the world outside which scares the shit out of me. But you know what? You sound absolutely, completely miserable. I see nowhere to go but up. It will be difficult at first, sure. But it won't always. You have the opportunity to live a happier life than you can even imagine now.
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:18 PM on June 3, 2020 [18 favorites]

Best answer: Don't take him back. Keep working on your anxiety and your fear. Get a divorce.

He's already out of the flat -- congrats to you on your progress! Keep it up. Stop telling yourself untrue, unkind things, whether they're about your romantic prospects or your pet ownership possibilities. (If your apartment management is that draconian, you could get a lookalike of the pet now owned by your husband and install said pet in your place; more importantly, your current home is not the only place you could live in your safe neighborhood, or in the world.)

Ending an unfulfilling marriage opens up so many opportunities for you, only you can't see that from where you are right now. Matters will improve. Get legally divorced and disentangled as much as you can, as addicted husbands AND addicted ex-husbands can impact your finances in bad ways. Listen: this is the father of your child, and you're probably always going to love him in some way; right now you're afraid and longing for the familiar as embodied by the man, not the man himself. That's hardly fair to either of you.

Would you like an anecdote? I collect stories of ladies who find happiness later on in life, but I'll pick the one closest to my heart and most applicable to your current situation: My own mother was a forty-something professional when she decided against taking back her finally-in-recovery addict husband. She's been with her very sweet gentleman friend (with whom she is more compatible, and, in particular, much more sexually compatible) (& ye gods while I'm glad for her what I would give not to know that last bit) for more than 35 years now -- FAR LONGER, AND MUCH HAPPIER, THAN SHE WAS WITH MY DAD.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:29 PM on June 3, 2020 [26 favorites]

Best answer: Hi! I am your kid, although I was younger than them when my parents' marriage finally ended.

I say "finally" because due 100% to my mother doing all the emotional work the marriage sputtered along for years after it should have ended. I describe my parents' marriage as "a cautionary tale." The way you have described yours is close enough to my parents' that it's bringing back a lot of memories. We also lived far away from my mother's family of origin. Looking back, I have no doubt that that was a deliberate tactic on my father's part.

Living through what your kid has been living through... I'm really trying hard to sugarcoat this to make it go down easier, but it was not good for me. It was not good for the way I've approached relationships in my adult life. It took me a looong time to come to terms with the fact that my mother went for years without paying attention to my sister and I trying to make her understand how bad the situation was for us and how she was prioritizing her fear of leaving and her sense of duty to her marriage over the physical and mental wellbeing of both herself and her children.

You have a step up over her - she had to go back and finish her education and start a career after the marriage ended. But she did it, and every day that passed convinced her more and more that she had made the right decision. She didn't have another adult to come home to, but she also never had to come home dreading what was waiting for her. She no longer had to watch every word and make sure her children did, just to make sure nobody was going to have to deal with my father's rage that night. I'm not going to lie and say she never went through tough or lonely spots, that we never fought, or even that she didn't still love and miss my father from time to time for a while. (She will still never hear a word against him; she doesn't believe children should have bad feelings toward their fathers, despite the fact that he made that happen himself.) She did eventually meet a wonderful, wonderful man who loved her and treated her the way she should have been treated all along. Sadly, they only had a short time together before his untimely death. But she says to this day that having that short but good relationship was worth all the time she spent alone before and since. The only thing about her marriage that even came close was her love for her children.

I'm not trying to tell you what you should do. You're an adult and it's your decision. I just wanted you to have the perspective of a family that's been through it and come out the other side.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:58 PM on June 3, 2020 [10 favorites]

Best answer: In response to Trig, Mexican yenta and iris.Yes all my family live in this country, just in different cities.The physical abuse stopped years ago.....and the reason I can't stay single for a year is that after I had already started the divorce proceedings ( or at least contacted a lawyer papers etc ) ,he asked for a second chance and to be allowed back six months after he left OR just issue the divorce ( he even signed the papers, I didn't.)So because I've been ( shockingly ) even more miserable without him, miss him alot and am terrified ( to the point it affects my daily function at times and was recently even affecting my work ) and I KNOW I can't live alone till I die, I really can't ) ,I accepted the condition.He also said he will quit by then, and while I'm hopeful he does quit, I really don't care if he doesn't as I'm used to the dynamic of our old status quo and if he does in the off chance quit ,I will have to do more as a wife than I was already doing ( that is our culture ( it's will be the same for any other husband etc so yes the cooking etc is a part of that ) .An addict doesn't eat much, a non addict does.Sounds selfish but yah that's what it is ....My manager allowed me some time off and cut down my weekend / overtime hours for this month.So I am trying to use this time as best I can .
posted by SarahSarah at 4:05 PM on June 3, 2020

Best answer: Respectfully, regardless of whatever new deal you have made regarding your divorce, you are allowed to change your mind. And if you are using how you felt the past 2 months as a gauge for whether you could live alone happily...... please don't! Why would you assume you would feel great and not lonely such a short time after ending your very long-term relationship, when that ending isn't even resolved yet? In the aftermath of a relationship it takes time to grieve and adjust and grow. Please please be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to grow on your own before you make that judgment.

And as others have said, there are so many options out there for you. In fact, many of the best things in life cannot be predicted and happen randomly when we are open to them. While taking your husband back is the easiest option, and feels like the safest, it does not sound like the best option for you or your daughter based on what you have posted. Although you're the one to make the judgement on that, please give yourself the time and space to truly make your decision instead of simply falling back into what seems easier.
posted by DTMFA at 4:33 PM on June 3, 2020 [11 favorites]

My child is of the view that , as much as they adore their dad , I am better off without him

Your kid is right. There are very, very few people who regret getting divorced - at all, let alone a year later.

Your life is not over, not even close. My parents got divorced after 27 years of marriage, they were 50. They both blossomed as people post-divorce, found wonderful partners that they subsequently married or good-as-married and have no been together with for over 20 years (well, dad has passed away, but it would be 20 years). Their careers continued to grow - especially in my mother's case.

I'm not exaggerating to say that they found happiness. And, as a teen when they divorced, it was better for me than the toxic dynamic that had been in place. I watched them grown and learn from their mistakes, self-actualise, and confront something scary that led to a better life for them internally and externally.

Screw your courage to the sticking place; you will not regret it.
posted by smoke at 5:14 PM on June 3, 2020 [6 favorites]

I am a divorced person who got divorced around your age. I am in the US. I think your assumption that your will be alone for the rest of your life or that there are slim pickings out there. are off. It took me a while, but I found someone with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life.

I would look at it this way, getting divorced is not final. You can always start dating your ex again. What you cannot get back is time. If you continue with the marraige, you may come to resent and regret the time spent working on something that will not change. Of the two options, divorce or no divorce, the divorce is reversible. You can always get divorced later, that is true, but time is our most valuable asset. Maximize that.
posted by AugustWest at 5:28 PM on June 3, 2020 [5 favorites]

OMG, my parents divorced because my mother was having an affair with a married minister in a place where that was a big thing and a time when the mother got the children by default no questions asked. If your kid is saying yes you two shouldn't be together. Take their word for it. Don't make the rest of your kid's formative years suffering because they know it should be different and anything else would be better. Not quite exactly my experience but pretty much my older sister's thinking. I was too young but those years of not being something settled and relatively normal were a bit of hell.

I don't even want to dig into below the fold details after teenage kid knows what you should do and is fine with that.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:51 PM on June 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It's kind of hard to read all the accounts of wonderful relationships people found in their 50's and beyond. I'm 46 and I can't for the life of me find even a remotely decent prospect, after trying for years now since I left my last serious relationship. The last two men who were interested in me were in their 70's and lied about it initially. Men almost always want someone younger. The few who don't either want something casual/poly, or are seriously deficient in some way(s).

I am NOT at all saying you should stay with your husband, I'd just like to confirm that yes, it can be rough out there for a single woman in middle age. I feel like you're being invalidated a bit in this thread. It will likely be difficult to find a decent man at your age and with your requirement for marriage before sex. I would think the most likely place to look would be in a religious community, if you're at all religious.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
posted by nirblegee at 5:58 PM on June 3, 2020 [8 favorites]

Best answer: So I recently divorced after a 16 year relationship, the last 10 of which he was an addict. He was not abusive, we had no kids together, he was/is an amazing person when he's not out of his mind on drugs. Worrying about what I'm coming home to, looking forward to going to work where I didn't have to deal with everything, trying with all my might to get him to stop taking drugs, lying to family and friends about what is going on. When I told him to leave for good, I had decided that being alone was better than this.

It sounds to me like you have not reached that point. I do feel like that's the point someone has to reach before they're really ready to break it off, otherwise you're second-guessing yourself and wondering if you made the right choice. I made the decision to divorce and never looked back, but I had done my mourning over the decade of things disintegrating. To me, your story absolutely sounds like you should immediately sign the papers and move on, but you are not me. This is something you need to decide for yourself. To me, the divorce was relief, but for you it seems that at this point it isn't.

I don't want to push you either way, but I just want to say that being alone is not terrible. The best part is that I have no one to answer to, no one's problems to clean up. I sleep better knowing that his problems are not my responsibility anymore. If I never meet someone ever again, that's still better than the life I had with him.

If you decide to get back together with him, you should be prepared to lose some family and/or friends over it. It is very hard to watch someone you love be in an bad situation and also that they do nothing about it. He may be excluded from events, any complaints by you may not be met with sympathy. You cannot control the emotions of other people, and there is seriously no defense of him you could present based on the information you provided here. I'd say a stalemate is probably best: you don't talk about him and they don't lecture you to leave.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:37 AM on June 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I was with my ex for 19 years, from the time I was a teenager. That leads to a lot of interdependence and growing so accustomed to what it's like to live with someone that it seems impossible to live without that. The year after he left was awful (and frankly, you're right about romantic prospects being pretty slim for women over 40).

BUT. That changes a lot over time, and I think that if you give yourself more, you'll enjoy the freedom of single life more. I absolutely love living alone now and don't think I'd ever choose to live with anyone else. One thing that might help you get to that place: every day, try to notice at least one thing that you appreciated/ enjoyed about not having him around. That can be as basic as no one else's dirty dishes filling your sink, or as significant as feeling personally empowered by not having anyone treating you badly.

Since that ex, I've had a couple of mediocre relationships which I ended because those folks weren't emotionally competent. It sucked, but I also found that I felt so much better about myself by standing up for what I needed, and refusing to settle for someone who was physically present but with whom I didn't feel emotionally safe sharing some things. You're still grieving a very long relationship, so it's understandable that you're not there yet, but I think it's very likely that it will come.
posted by metasarah at 7:01 AM on June 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Your story reminds me so much of this one, on the Family Secrets podcast, in terms of the way you talk about your relationship and your fear of leaving.

Her story ended tragically, when her addict ex-husband died of an overdose -- and I'm not implying that is likely to happen to you. But much of the build up to her eventual divorce, and her discussion of why she stayed, sounds very similar. You might find it helpful to listen to this conversation and/or read her memoir.

I'd also recommend looking at the Relationships threads on Mumsnet, or even posting your question there. The women on that forum have a lot of experience of this kind of dilemma. You could read some similar stories or find people who would be happy to offer advice and moral support.

Best of luck to you.
posted by EllaEm at 8:51 AM on June 4, 2020

Best answer: Lizbo and metasarah : Yes I thought I had mourned/ grieved our relationship and at the time I asked him to leave, I had had enough of it all .I also do and have done the lying to family/ friends thing.The child figured it out a few years ago and is very intelligent ,so I had to explain to said child that dad has an addiction.I have also explained to child the it's not a matter of they are choosing the x/y over child ....an addicts first love is always the addiction.And that we are neither responsible for)nor can we fix him, that has to come from him ....So I stopped even trying to keep up with his activity and whenever I hear the ' I'm cutting down/ I've cut down / plan to decrease / can stop etc line, it goes over my head.There's only so many times you can hear that and still believe it... eventually you just accept that it's all just words, lol.Even now, he says he will stop for the sake of not losing me, but even though I have a small hope that the separation shook him up , realistically it will probably lead to him hiding from me/ lying about being 'inebriated '.So yes, I did actually think I had had enough....but then the reality of not ONLY living alone at my age ( which I am alone when child spends a few days at his place- intermittently), the reality that as fit as I am, I do feel the aches and pains (especially after a 36 hr shift ) , the reality that having no one who is there to say how was your day, u need anything etc really is just HORRIBLE....it just is.I do enjoy not having anyone to answer to and the financial freedom ( I've saved up more in the last three month than I had in my entire life )...but that's also because I set new rules about 'assisting' him financially since before he moved out.The child is young and has a bright future ahead, and does not maybe realise that, at my age especially ....it's not all rainbows and unicorns and finding a better/ more normal/ sexy person.Sometimes it can be, but the flip side is just terrifying and kind of like a black void of fear for me....even more scary to me than what I already have....IAM not trying to make excuses, I have read and reread some of the answers and I'm trying to open my mind....I guess the fear just closes the rational side of my brain, lols.
posted by SarahSarah at 8:52 AM on June 4, 2020

Best answer: Lizbo : I was practicing the daily twt of what would I really miss / be doing if he WAS still here....what is it that you would have actually had to be doing /not doing were he here?I did that for a few days, eventually I got so mentally exhausted from trying to work through my constant thoughts, that I just stopped thinking about it, these last few days (I save that for the cbt).It was affecting my work, my sleep and the constant indecisiveness was wearing me down and becoming all t could think of (sometimes even at work !)
posted by SarahSarah at 9:31 AM on June 4, 2020

Mod note: Hey, SarahSarah, no harm done but please keep in mind that Ask MetaFilter isn't meant to be an ongoing back-and-forth. If you need to add one or two clarifying comments over the course of a question, that's fine, but it shouldn't be a thing of responding point by point to folks. Please let folks answer as they can and follow up only as necessary going forward.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:23 AM on June 4, 2020

Touch can be bought. Could your budget stretch to professional massage? Non-sexual and requires no bending over backwards to be nice.
posted by inexorably_forward at 12:35 AM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: So I think you should leave your husband. He's an addict, he's abused you, and your child is trying to get you out of the cycle of abuse.

I think for the other issues regarding not knowing how to live without a man and the prospects of dating etc, you need to work through your therapist and gather more localized resources. I say this because reading between the lines I sense that there is probably some cultural differences involved in the gender sphere that i don't fully grasp enough to advise (I'm a cis white american woman).
posted by WeekendJen at 3:32 AM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: From a male perspective, I can tell you that there is an active and great dating scene for 40- and 50-somethings, almost all of whom will be divorced and have baggage and kids. Don't worry about it.

I get the fear of the unknown. I spent years and years in a dead marriage before getting out because of all sorts of reasons : fear of loneliness, financial uncertainty, fear of failure etc. They're all unnecessary. Dating when older is way more fun and interesting than when young. I wish I'd left earlier, and everyone I know in a similar situation thinks the same.
posted by tillsbury at 9:15 PM on June 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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