It's really hard to try to write my story succinctly but I will try, by starting with the now. Right now my husband has decided to sleep the night at his mother's place (who is away on holiday so the house is empty and we have a key) and earlier asked me to bring one of our son's down for the night too, which I did. I did so in the hope that it might soften his resolve or offer an opportunity to talk. It didn't. He is angry at me over a conversation/issue that happened this morning (entirely his bad behaviour, I accept no responsibility for it) and I am not sure if he is just trying to make a point, hurt me, just wanting space to think things through or if this is a significant act towards us splitting up. Knowing him this could quite likely be him leaving me as he generally sweeps anything under the carpet and moves on fast from fights.
I have felt very sad tonight (all day) and wanted to talk to a friend or family member (which I could easily do) but decided to keep it to myself this time and see how the land lies tomorrow. When I talk to someone I either can pretty much predict what their point of view will be, so it is almost pointless looking for advice, or I don't want to concern them or bother them yet again with my roller coaster situation. So what is my situation? Well my husband and I started our relationship 14 years ago and I would describe it as pretty solid. In the sense that there have been no affairs or anything (that I know of, but sometimes I wonder if I am plain stupid to think he could have been faithful all this time) and in fact we tend to have a very settled acrimonious relationship, we both avoid conflict and drama and are very (by anyone's definition) 'easy going' people. In the beginning I used to think we had an awesome relationship that others should take notes from (?!) we never fought, he made me feel like a million bucks (I actually remember thinking that and being so grateful) and we had a fierce love and respect for each other. Despite our enormously different backgrounds I felt that we had so much love it could overcome anything and was therefore all we needed. In many ways I still believe that, because if a couple has love, then they should have the willingness and determination to make their relationship work whatever it takes. These days’ things feel very different. The thing I most long for, is that my husband would respect me. He certainly does not make me feel like a million bucks, in fact I feel he has been chipping away at my self-esteem for a long time, for months at a time I have felt like he absolutely cannot stand me, he is so grumpy, cruel and controlling. In the last couple of years we have started to have some huge fights, and more significantly over the last year, I feel this is for two reasons; firstly he is not walking away from the conflict but staying and fighting his corner (which I actually see as really positive) and secondly because I am really kind of losing it at him, ripping in to him and giving it back to him and as I said, losing it, screaming my head off or crying in huge weeping shudders and falling to pieces. It's so not me. I also lose it at the kids a lot purely when under pressure from him and feeling stressed or upset, and I am so sad and ashamed about that. I don't actually think his behaviour as such has changed particularly, but it is my tolerance level that is changing. In the last year I think we have had about four real rock-bottom heart-to-heart conversations regarding him needing to change his behaviour on all sorts of issues, and agreeing that we want to make it work and to hold on to our relationship. But as of a few weeks ago when we had two massive arguments (plus other behavior that arose from them) I started to feel a horrible realisation, to admit to myself, or feel completely resigned, disillusioned, hopeless, that he in fact never does change and I don't know if he actually ever will. There have been quite a few things he has done in the last few months that have been either really despicable or fights where he has said extremely negative stuff. Kind of new lows.
So right now I am left constantly contemplating the question, if I had a crystal ball and knew for sure he wasn't ever going to change, what would I do? Would I want to continue living like this for another ten or twenty years and then inevitably leave eventually? If I end things now will I be gaining ten years or more of my personal joy back, less stress, less heartache and disappointment and hurt, less isolation and more happy social times with others? I couldn't care less about finding a new partner. I am not afraid of feeling alone because I feel alone a huge amount of the time anyway. I do worry that I could be breaking something that is destined to become beautiful one day...and of course most of all about the children. Some people don't think too much about kids coming from a broken home, but it is something I would love to avoid for them if I possibly could. The greatest grief and sacrifice of breaking up would be missing out on being with the boys every single day as of course I would share custody with him. Why should I miss out on my boys because of him??? It is an unfair and heartbreaking reality that I would have to accept. Previously I have felt that no matter how angry I am at my husband or how bad things have got, I have felt 100% certain of the fact that I loved/adored him, and that I wanted to find a way to push through and hold on to the relationship. For the first time some weeks ago I started to question whether loving him was something that was healthy for me, and that perhaps it was time to consider ending things. I just don't know now what to do with these feelings. Most of all I want to tell him how I feel and for him to truly understand how hurt I am and how close he is to losing me, in the hope that it would spur him to do whatever I asked of him, to save our marriage. This is what I would ask of him if I thought he would do it, and if I thought it was a fair request (of which I am unsure..) I would ask him to agree to see a counselor for a minimum of one year. Top priority. Problem with that is I honestly know he would fail. He has been twice before when I have begged him in tears and lasted two weeks each time, this was years apart. Each time he concludes there is nothing they can tell him that he doesn't already know.
I would ask him to seek professional help to clean up entirely from drugs and alcohol. Second priority because I reckon if he could do the counseling it would crop up, plus the counseling would ideally start to address some of the reasons for the addictions in the first place. Thirdly I would ask that we have marriage/relationship counseling. I place that third because I feel like honestly there is no point in us having relationship counseling if he is never going to conquer other issues. I do feel that we are becoming very broken though and need a lot of healing, it would be cool to have counseling but he would hate it so intensely I don't think he would ever do that. As for the issues; it is tempting to tell his life story by way of explaining how deep and major some of his personal issues are but for fear of him ever reading this I won't do that. It is his very personal painful story that has taken me over a decade to solicit, it's not right to let it all out in a public forum. Lets just say he has some baggage and hurts from his past as well as an upbringing entrenched in alcohol and substance abuse as well as an enormous amount of family and friends who I would describe as addicts also. Kind of functioning addicts I guess. In the early years I used to try to make sense of his drinking, is he an alcoholic? No he can't be, because he doesn't drink every day. So he is a binge drinker. I decided in my head I would tell myself 'he has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol'. In my observation, he binge-drinked (really quite excessively) once or twice a week minimum. Often more. I would have described him as smoking weed on occasion, perhaps only during a drinking session, or on one of the off-days. I would have said he did drugs (E or Acid my guess was, at the time) sometimes along with a big drinking session, maybe every six weeks or so. Its hard to remember actually, what I must have been thinking or noticing at the time so many years ago. At that time I was a tertiary student and would join him sometimes for a night out in town or at friend’s places or parties and have a few drinks, get a bit drunk, have a good night out. Over the years I guess life went on, the honeymoon stage eventually waned as it does, we lived in a few different places, worked a few different jobs, as you do. I was constantly let down by him going out on a bender and not coming home till very late, many many times 6 in the morning or even 10 or 11 in the morning. I was used to worrying that he'd had a heart attack while out partying, or a car accident as he or whoever he was with would often drink and drive.
I truly hate to gloss over this because it is immensely important to me but I will have to, our first child who would be six now, was born with a terminal illness and we spent some years living day by day and caring for him intensively 24 hours a day. His health was so fragile that he could not go out and about really, well not in close proximity to others because the germs he might pick up could kill him, and we lived life in our own little bubble until the day came for him to move on to a beautiful place in the sky. I grieved deeply while he was alive but I forged ahead forcing myself to try to enjoy him as I told myself I had the rest of my life to cry and didn't want to waste a moment while he was here being unhappy or lost in unhappiness. It wasn't easy but I pretty much did do that. Since then we had another two healthy boys, so I have had three children very close together along with the pain and stress of caring for our first. I feel I have almost hardly grieved at all as I have not had the space and time to do it and I have not had counseling because I actually truly didn't have the time and was holding it together well. We both have amazing supportive friends and family. It has occurred to me that the stress of recent years and events might be creating a slight depression in me which might be skewing my opinions more to a negative space than usual but I think that really is just creating an excuse, when I am probably just sick and tired of being treated the way I am in this relationship...
Once I became a mother the lifestyle coupled with our particular situation meant that I very quickly stopped touching any alcohol. As time has gone on I have begun to be actually quite disgusted in it as I see it as abusing the perfect health you have been blessed with. Because my son died because he was not given a body that could work for him, it bothers me that my husband just abuses his. That's how I have ended up viewing it. I have become more clean-living while my husband has perhaps gone the opposite way. These days we are becoming more and more estranged from everyone. People don't even ask us out anymore because we never go. What I notice in him is an unwillingness to be generous to me or those close to me. I see it actually as not loving me. He says he loves me but I struggle to see evidence of that other than the fact that he does clock in here and in moments or some days it feels like we have a happy home. It also feels like we are kind of just pretending or feeling hopeful at those times. Otherwise he has a negative attitude a lot of the time, (as in grumpy or moody), he is emotionally COMPLETELY distant, he is virtually physically distant a huge amount of the time and I see him as being very selfish and arrogant. I could go on and on about all the tiny things he complains about that he is equally responsible for, but for which he belittles me or aggressively abuses me verbally over, flies off the handle about and yet is more than capable of doing himself, or has more time than me to do etc, etc. But that's reasonably typical relationship stuff and I can live with all of that. The problem really is his anger and cruelty to me, his enormous distance from us all as a family (he is not home at the times that matter, like dinner time etc, by choice because he 'has to' exercise and when he is finally home he is in and out of the house popping here and there or outside on the phone or in his little shed which of course he does his drinking etc in). From my point of view I feel abandoned emotionally, financially and domestically by him, his parenting is mostly fantastic when he does it but I feel he genuinely avoids it, and what is crazy is that from his point of view, he thinks he is doing a pretty great job right now, in all aspects of his life. He is actually just hugely in denial and lost in arrogance. So as I was saying, he has always been a drinker, and I thought occasional dope smoker/other drug user. What I have discovered recently in drip-fed heart-to-hearts or drunken admission, or during an argument, is that in actual fact he has been using 'P' for 14 years. Think back, that's literally since I first met him. This is of course as well as pretty much anything else that's around. He genuinely thinks it is not a problem, or only a minor problem that is virtually his right to have, after all the stuff he's been through. He says I can not understand it, and as he still works and exercises and to all intensive purposes is absolutely 'fine' it is technically NOT a problem. Over the years (more recently since we've had children plus got married) I have found little pieces of evidence of different types of drug use and I have hit him up about it, to either complete denial in a 'don't be ridiculous!' kind of way, like I'm being a silly detective, or in a furious rage of denial with comments along the lines of 'don't you think if I was doing that I'd be dead by now, or in jail, or a gang member, don't you think you would know if I was doing that?!' etc. Very clever. Now that I know for sure he is in actual fact a P addict, or perhaps that's too strong perhaps he'd prefer a P user, all these past conversations repeat in my mind and I feel very angry and hurt and deceived. 14 years of covering up, hiding, lying. I always knew I was very trusting of him and I prided myself in that. I knew he had every opportunity to do any number of things, but I just trusted him and let him go and live pretty freely. I thought that was a cool way to be in a relationship, not overbearing or controlling. Now I just feel like an idiot, like this little naive girl from a nice family who has no freaking idea about anything. True.
So tell me what am I to do?
To break it down;
I still love my husband very much...but honestly I am feeling more and more hurt by him and I feel I am ultimately doing this to myself by staying.
His drug use genuinely bothers me, a lot, in every way, it is not something I feel I can live with. It is something I feel accomplice to, simply by knowing what I know now, and I don't like that at all.
His mean-ness, controlling behaviour, distance is upsetting me more and more
I seem to not be able to put up with his misdemeanors anymore, my patience and forgiveness have run out - almost
I have realised that for me, all these years I have believed that one day he would completely transform and change, like he so often promised, but I think he probably won't, plus his problems are way bigger than I'd ever realised.
I believe in commitment, trying to work things out, staying together for the kids sake if possible, but I am so frustrated and so tired and so hurt.
If my family knew what was going on they would freak out. Which is fair. So I keep information secret and I make up suitable excuses for him constantly, and that compromises my integrity which I don't like.
Am I considering throwing away a marriage that can be fixed, or should I have done this years ago? Is it not so much him that needs to change, but me that needs to flourish again and can I do this within the relationship? Should I just go to some support group for people living with users? The way I see it, you can't pick your parents, or siblings or whoever, but you can certainly pick your spouse. Why choose or even bother trying to build a life with someone who is a P addict? Surely I am not supposed to just overlook this? How am I feeling? Really really sad.
Thank you for reading - I would welcome any comments.