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You Asked: Having Marital Problems and Scared

Dear Sugar,

My husband and I are having marital problems. We've been married for two years, and two weeks into the marriage, his father went into the hospital with a ruptured esophagus. We spent many hours driving his mother back and forth and staying at the hospital at least four times a week. Sadly, he passed away last January and then we had to move in with his mother to help take care of her. She was totally depressed and very sick, and my husband dealt with it by drinking. She ended up with lung cancer and recently passed away as well.

It was obviously a really tough time for my husband, and now the drinking has escalated and he's really unhappy. Our sex life is pretty much nonexistent — we've probably only had sex about ten times in two years. I try to talk to him about this, but he says things like "just take your half and leave," and "go find someone else to have sex with, maybe that will make you happy."

Last night he went to the bedroom and shut the door, so I left him alone. In the morning, I saw that the shot gun he uses for hunting was down from the rack and sitting next to the bed. I'm not sure who he was going to use it on, but now I'm really worried. Since I can't talk to him, I am going to find a counselor and see if that will help. I love him and I know he loves me, but I don't know what to do.

—Scared and Broken-Hearted

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Scared and Broken-Hearted,

This is a really serious situation that you're in, and I'm worried for your life. A man battling with depression, who treats it with alcohol, and has access to a weapon is not a safe person for you to be around. I know that you love him and desperately want this relationship to work, but things are beyond you right now.

It's great that you are going to see a counselor. I'm sure they'll give you some great advice about how to deal with this situation and make things better. They may suggest, and I would agree, that you move out until he starts seeing a counselor, too, since he definitely needs someone to talk to about all this. He's got to realize that talking about his feelings is the only way to grieve his parents deaths, and that numbing his mind with alcohol is only a temporary fix.

After you get yourself into a safe living environment, perhaps with a family member or good friend, I would notify the police since you're worried that he may use the gun on himself. This may seem like an extreme response, but when your safety is at risk, you really can't be too careful. Emotional abuse is never okay in a relationship so you've got to look out for yourself and let professionals give him the help he needs. I hope things work out.


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