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You Asked: Is it Fair for me to Want to Leave?

Dear Sugar --

I have been married to my husband for just under 5 years. We were incredibly happy until last year. Everything kind of went down hill at the same time, I guess as it always does. Very soon after I had my baby, I discovered that my husband was abusing prescription pain killers. I thought his change of personality was just nerves about being a first time father, but I was sorely mistaken.

To make a long story short, he went to a 28 day rehab and ever since he got out (about 6 months ago), our relationship hasn't been the same. I feel like I don't even know who he is anymore and the person he has since become, I can't stand. He is irritable, snappish, insensitive, he has no interest in the baby, and he never talks to me. In turn, I am finding myself being incredibly mean to him, mostly because I don't know what else to do.

I don't want to be in a marriage like this any longer, but I feel guilty for wanting to leave. I know he is going through a difficult time right now, but I am just not happy - and I know it's not good for my daughter to grow up in this kind of environment. Can I leave him? HELP! -- I'm Done Donna

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear I'm Done Donna

It sounds like you have your hands full here. I am sorry you are going through such a traumatic time in your marriage during what's supposed to be such a happy time. Recovering from drug addiction is not easy and the transition back to "normalness" can take much more than 6 months to figure out. From the sounds of it, you have not experienced drug addiction yourself so while you can feel for your husband, you don't know what he's actually going through, and the fact that he isn't opening up to you is a big part of the problem.

Your harsh reaction to the man you used to love makes me think you are harboring some resentment towards him (a completely normal reaction). Are you currently in therapy as a couple or individually? Is he sticking to his sobriety (his 12 steps or another method)? Opening the lines of communication is vital to making this relationship survive. While you say you don't know him anymore, I am sure he is experiencing similar feelings about himself right now. Overcoming any addiction takes a lot of hard work and dedication, not only from the addict, but from their loved ones as well. Sure, giving up and asking for a separation or divorce is the easy way out - but are you certain that's what you want to do? Shelling out support to your husband may sound daunting and overwhelming, especially with a newborn, but it could be just the thing he needs right now.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you whether or not to stay in this marriage. Yes, it's important for you to be happy, but do you think with the appropriate effort on both your sides you can make it work? It's going to take time until you settle into a new routine, but it can be done if you're willing to give it your all. I wish you luck Donna in whatever decision you make.


Join The Conversation
estoiles estoiles 9 years
i think it could help if you two lived separately, but were still together, while he got back on track - and both going to therapy, individual and couple's. a lot of people i know and have been close to have drug addictions and they can really change a person - like Daddisgrl said, especially if it comes via an injury - living together right now while he's having to completely rediscover himself is putting strain on the relationship and all of you. your daughter needs to be in a home where this is not what is surrounding her - one way is to continue to see eachother regularly - maybe even spend the night sometimes - but to let him have his space to get to know himself again (and i'm not talking about a break or separating, just living in different apartments).
Daddisgrl Daddisgrl 9 years
Most people that I know that have had an addiction to pain killers took them because they hurt themselves and had or have pain. We don't know why he started taking them. If he took them because of pain, it could very well be he still has pain and is having a tough time functioning with his pain. Pain killer addiction - if it comes via an injury is totally different then alcohol or drugs. If I was in pain, I wouldn't drink, I'd go to a doctor. If he is still in pain there are many things that can get him back on track depending on what type of pain he's in.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I'm with you, Pop. Marriage is not always easy and you do hit a lot of road bumps, especially after the birth of a child. My husband has been hurt or had some medical issue almost the entire time we've been married (almost 3 years) and people always ask me how we're still together. Answer: We work at it. And at the end of the day, there's no one I'd rather be with. My husband has had migraines, back problems, severe depression, and hypothyroidism - and his medications have helped a lot. You might want to have your husband talk to a therapist or just a doctor to see if he is clinically depressed. That in itself makes a world of difference, I promise you that.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
As always pop, you make some excellent points.
brazilnut brazilnut 9 years
You are in a situation with no easy answer and I feel for you. Living with an addict is never fun, but there are many things you can do to help yourself cope. Learn as much as you can about your husbands addiction. He may not be willing to talk to you about it now, but the more you learn the easier it will be for you to understand. Talk to a professional. Whether your husband will go with you or not, you need a professional to help you sort through the many emotions you are going to experience no matter what your decision is. Do not isolate yourself from friends, family etc.. You may be feeling ashamed to talk to anybody close to you or feel like they won't understand. Chances are they may not, but you have to talk about it! Don't blame yourself. Addicts have a way of turning everything around and blaming everyone else for their problems. It's not your fault. I'm giving this advice based on MY experience. My husband has a long-standing addiction to prescription pain medication. His addiction was established long before we were married, he just was never up front about it. We are currently separated, have been in counseling for quite awhile and are trying to salvage our marriage. Somedays I think it will work, others I can't stand to talk about it anymore and want nothing more than to be done with it. I can tell you that as much as people who have never experienced this as a wife and mother would like to tell you what to do, it is YOUR decision. Either way it will be hard, but you have to do what is right for you and your child. You have a long road of healing ahead and you will be in my prayers. If you ever need someone to talk to, please feel free to message me.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I always get so sad reading stuff like this. It's as if people don't really understand what "for better or for worse" really means. People love the "for better" part, but when the hard times come, man, they are out of there so fast. And the hard times have been what, 6 measly months? Who told you this would be and should be easy? Do you love this man? And I don't mean, did you fall in love with this man? I mean, can you think of him and his pain before thinking of yourself? Can you imagine leaving someone in this kind of pain because you're sick of it? What if you had an addiction problem and struggled to get past it only to have your man leave you in the dust? I have heard time and time again that the hardest part of a relationship for married couples is when they first have children. The adjustment can be extremely difficult as it changes the dynamic. Add this to the fact that he's recently overcome an addiction, and no kidding there is stress in the relationship. If he was willing to go to rehab, he's probably willing to go to therapy. And since you said "I do", I'm assuming you at least meant it at the time, and you should be willing to go to therapy too. I'm sorry you are unhappy. I'm sure you are in pain. But I get upset at the idea that we all feel that we're entitled to our lives being easy and pain free. There are things worth struggling for.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
I think the decision whether or not to leave him is totally up to you, and you need to listen to yourself here. But I think whatever decision you make, counseling could really help you (and your husband if he would go with you or by himself). Support groups might really be good too - to know you're not alone and get advice/support from other women who have been there. I've done nar-anon and found it really helpful. To find a meeting near you. You might want to call ahead to find more about the specific group, if meetings are open/closed, etc. Good luck!
rubialala rubialala 9 years
I think that you two should see a counselor. I know that it's hard to see it getting any better, but it can if you are both willing to try. He is fresh out of his addiction, his personality may change with some time. I know that it is hard to stay, and perhaps some distance is in order (a vacation from each other?) so that you aren't both on top of each other all the time. Having a baby is so stressful, it's like a nuclear bomb for the family, and then add another bomb of his addiction, this is certainly not an easy situation. Find a really good marraige and family counselor and the two of you may be able to work it out. At least try for the sake of your child. If it doesn't work out after your both really try, then at least you can tell your child one day that you gave it your best shot.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 9 years
DearSugars advice was good. I think what your husband went through was pretty tough. It is not easy to get over an addiction and you are not cured forever after 28 days. So please try not to expect him to bounce back to what he used to be. I do agree that there seems to be a lack in communication. I think you need to both need to see a therapist to hopefully reconnect what you used to have before his addiction. Hang in there sweetie. You both vowed 'for better or for worse' on your wedding day right? Just because it gets a little tough doesn't mean you should go running, especially with the new baby.
Jeng112 Jeng112 9 years
I hope you have discussed this with him. He may not know how you feel. You have to decide if you still love him, if you think this could just be a phase that will pass, and how important working on this is to you. Put yourself in his shoes, he's just been through a rough time. What would you want from your husband if you were him? Ask him to consider your position, you didn't deserve to go through this while adjusting to motherhood. Either way, you have a child now, and it will never be the same as it was, even without the RX abuse. Things are decidedly more complicated now. I wish you luck, and health for your entire family. If you still love him, try to work things out, as long as it doesn't hurt your baby.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
Krissy that is completely your opinion and I respect it, I really do. However, I have seen addiction in many forms in my family. I have seen the pain it can cause. I have seen the devastation that is left in its wake. Addiction usually doesn't have anything to do with strenth of will. Sometimes the strongest people lose themselves in it before they have to fight to climb out of it. I will leave it at that...I just needed to say something. Putting addiction aside for the moment, many couples go through these problems for a variety of different reasons. Marriage is not easy and the bumps can certainly throw people for a loop. Sometimes, with a lot of communication and hard work, couples can get through it. I always believe you should try your hardest before walking away. My advice would be to seek counseling, even if it is just for yourself, and see where things go. Good luck! :HUG:
KrissyThePirate KrissyThePirate 9 years
It sounds like you want to leave. Though it seems like counseling might help, I can sort of tell you've already made the decision inside yourself. I realize that he's been through a rough patch--but here's the thing, at least what I've learned--people will not change because you want them to change. They can only change themselves. Pushing counseling may not help the situation at all. It may sound insensitive, and I hope I don't offend anyone, but I really don't have a lot of compassion for him. People who get scared and turn to drugs or alcohol abuse to take the pain away aren't strong willed people. I was with someone who I lived with, who turned to alcohol because he couldn't handle anything. It was like Dr.Jeykell and Mr. Hyde. It just got to a point where, even when he wanted to go to counseling, I just had enough. You can only give so much of yourself, before you get exhausted. If they don't realize you were only trying to be compassionate and help, you need to get out of there. You have a child now, if he isn't able to see what a gift that is for the both of you, throughout drugs,rehab, and potential counseling--do what your heart (at what it seems like you said) tells you. When you're done-you're done. Do what's best for you and your daughter, be happy.
Gizselle Gizselle 9 years
Im Done Donna, My advice would be to seek some really good counseling before throwing in the towel. It's always best to try every option before getting a divorce. Don't become a single mommy if you don't have to. Maybe if you two go to to counseling, you can get to the bottom of what's causing the medication abuse. This may just be a rough spot sweetie. best of luck.
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