I've been married 13 years…and I think it's over

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    I’ve read several posts here, and people seem to truly fight to stay in relationship…to hold on. But, what do you do when you just can’t anymore. I’ve known my husband since I was a teenager. We married in our thirties. Now, with three kids, we’re failing. He left before the Holidays as our oldest was going off to college. He says he’s depressed and he’ll be back, but he has left every winter now for five years in a row. He was gone 6 months last time. He’s been laid off 5 times. I thought when we got sober all would be well, but it actually got much worse.

    But, I don’t feel love anymore. I am angry that our children experience instability. I am angry that my dad, my brother, my husband: I guess I’m an Amazon, I can’t seem to “get” men. My son loves me, but, I fear I can’t make it okay for him surrounded by sister’s and mom. I want to work now, I used to be a scientist and a teacher. I think I could write. I have things to say.
    It’s just so hard to breathe. I wake up dreaming. Angry. Hurt. Sad. Grieving. I fight for each breath, to get the meals, the laundry. I was actually plumbing this morning. Unsuccessfully.

    Last year at Thanksgiving, I told him not to leave. That we couldn’t take being walked out on again. He stayed it was awful but then months of happy followed. We stuck it out, cause we’re family. This year I said the same thing and he left. Now he shows up to see the kids occasionally and he’s not okay. Depressed, angry, hostile, clearly trying to fight to hold it together as well. It’s better when he’s not here. I’m trying to focus on that.

    He’s been my best friend forever. I can’t imagine life without him. But, it’s happening. Advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


    Hi raventrue,

    Not to cast doubts, but when he ditches everyone for the holidays, Where Does He Go??? Do you know? Can you confirm?? This is something out of a bad paperback novel, but I see him, Somewhere. Then, when you said “Stay home for Thanksgiving this time” and he did, he got agitated because he was letting down Someone Somewhere. But then the holidays passed and he got over it. But this year he left again for Somewhere. Then when he comes back he looks even worse because it’s not working out with Someone Somewhere.

    That would be my first instinct ~ find out if there is someone else.

    Personally I think that he has done a good job at running away, but if he wants out, he has to do the work of getting out. I think you should get any job anywhere to get back in the workforce and so you’re forward thinking and don’t brood on him all day. Don’t initiate divorce until your ducks are in a row and/or your youngest is independent.

    If he visits, get his butt to a doctor and a shrink. (Good luck with that!)

    Hang in There,



    I’m sorry you are hurting on a yearly cycle. Since you are reaching out for help you are taking a positive step. And congrats on getting sober. Though the title of your post is about your marriage, the advice I have focuses on your second paragraph.
    If you are stable your children will experience some stability.
    If you are angry at all men your son will be affected more by that than by the amount of females he is around. He will be a man one day too. Your attitude towards men is going to be a part of him.
    If you want to work, what is holding you back? Take steps to fix it. I know it will be hard but even if you think you’re unsuccessful now, after a while you will notice you accomplished more than just existing. It just takes longer than we’d like.
    That is all you. The hurt over the loss of your best friend will still be there but all of the above could be worked on even if he was around. It’s your part.

    The other thing to consider, not sure it’s advice, but I’ve done it myself, is to move somewhere warm. Where is he going every winter? If it’s not the weather maybe it’s the holiday circus he can’t take. Why would he keep coming back after that if he didn’t want to be with you and with his family?


    Inky, you’ve scared me to death. But, as I’ve been through this repeatedly. I’ve checked. He’s laying on his mother’s guest bed sleeping all day. It used to be a flop house where I was sure he was drinking but, just sleeping and going to AA. He certainly does need a shrink, but I’ve got him to agree to go to a Dr at least on Thursday to see if the Doctor thinks he needs a shrink. He has tried both fluoxetine and sertraline in the past and reacted really badly. I think he is scared.

    Peace, oddly enough we moved to Florida last year for exactly that reason. They have just checked his Vitamin D is still low even though we are south of the subtropic line and he is homozygous for a condition that makes him prone to alcoholism and depression.
    Your advice about men is extremely relevant. I want to respond “it’s just depressed, lumps on the couch, that bug me” but as that is his uncle, grandfather, and dad I speak of I need to find a way to appreciate what they do accomplish for his sake.

    I’m going to write some today. I saw Wild yesterday and spent half the day crying. I was in that campsite when Jerry Garcia died. LOL, its a small world. I’ll tell you guys how it went. I am still flummoxed on the whole how do you get a job, pay bills, and still have money left after childcare. And, I am still fighting for each breath. Had no idea there was so much energy trapped in my chest. But, I can write. I can barely stop myself. Love and Blessings for your responses.

    “The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”
    ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail


    Hello. I am sorry that you are going through this, but it may be a necessary step in your progression towards discovering who you are. It seems like you are beginning to question your relationship, whereas in the past you may have taken how you and he relate for granted or perhaps there was so much going on (i.e. alcoholism) that you did not have the energy or time to question things.

    It is not your responsibility to get him to a shrink, that is his problem. But, it is your responsibility to get yourself to a shrink. This may help you to make sense of things and may give you the ability to see your life from new perspectives.

    To me, the most interesting point in your post was where you mentioned that you and he were both alcoholics and your relationship was better then. Perhaps your relationship was a codependent one, where you both could enable each other as alcoholics. You freed yourself from that “prison”, and evolved onwards, but maybe the relationship did not evolve onwards. As well, it could be that you both needed each other during your alcohol years just to survive, and that you were there for each other to make it through the day. Now, that you both are living sober, you may not need each other in the same way. However, you may be able to relate each other in different ways, but you both would have to discover that together.

    Another question to ponder is how did you both begin drinking? Were you both doing it together? Was it an escape from oppressing or overwhelming problems? If it was a way to escape, what did you both need to escape from? Has that issue been resolved for you both? Because it seems like he is still escaping, but now he is running away rather than drinking away. What is he running from? I do not think it is you, I think it is something inside him or from his past.

    I think the key may lie in the alcoholism. Now that you define yourself differently, you must also define your relationship differently. And he also has to want to define the relationship and even himself differently.

    You cannot force him to change, you can only change yourself. Perhaps if you met with a therapist, you would be able to see things more clearly and value the special qualities that you bring into this world.

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