Relationship Advice

For The Children

distressed woman

I have been with my husband 20 years, and we have three kids. He is an alcoholic who is verbally and sometimes physically abusive. He has also had several affairs. We separated before, but he would temporarily change for the better when we got back together.

The last two years I've wanted to end it, especially after my father died. My dad was only 55. My husband picked me up from work when I found out, and on the way home he called me crazy for bawling hysterically.

My husband isn't as bad as he once was, but I don't trust or respect him anymore. In fact, I hate him. Four months ago I started an affair with a married coworker. Terrible, I know, because I said I would never cheat.

A week later I moved out. I feel so much better being on my own and am not so nervous anymore. Though the affair ended leaving me heartbroken, I will get over it because I know the other man didn't love me.

I filed for divorce but my husband keeps begging me back, telling me he loves me and realizes all he did wrong. I guess my question is part of me thinks I should go back to him and hope he's changed. I also think I should tell him about my affair and see if we can work things out.

I know I'd be disappointing a lot of people, including my 12-year-old daughter, if I go back because for years they've been telling me to leave. My husband just seems so sincere this time, and he apologized for everything. I feel bad for him.

I always believed divorce was wrong, but I also know it is not good to stay. I'm afraid to hurt anyone. I just don't know what is right anymore.

My husband hasn't quit drinking or being angry. He says it's because I'm not there. He says if I come back he would. I believe any marriage can be saved and so does he.


April, the director of a hospital for alcoholics once told me, "The best way to deny being an alcoholic is by admitting it." What he meant was that alcoholics will tell any lie in order to continue drinking. The lie might be an apology, it might be a confession or it might even be the admission they are an alcoholic.

It doesn't matter what the lie is. It's simply the latest subterfuge which allows them to continue drinking and imprison the people around them. Tamara and I give no credit to your husband's words.

The early years of life shape the development of our brain and nervous system. With care, our brains develop in a manner that helps us for a lifetime. But living in a sea of psychopathology, which is what living with a drunk is, damages children in ways which often cannot be fixed.

We are preprogrammed to look up to our parents and love them. It is difficult to get a child to turn on a parent even when the parent harms the child, yet your 12-year-old daughter says don't go back.

Do you need a clearer indication of what living with an angry drunk has done to her? You stayed long enough to become part of what he is.

Do not tell your husband about the affair. All that will do is give him the idea he has something on you, you have something on him, so the two of you must stay together.

You have two false beliefs: divorce is always wrong and every marriage can be saved. Marriages infested with abuse, incest, addiction and neglect refute those ideas.

We must be careful about the direction of our hopes. There is no reason to hope for a good future with an alcoholic husband. There is every reason to hope if you part.

Wayne & Tamara

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