Question: I've been married for almost 18 yrs. I can't say that I am happily married because ever since we said "I do" we've had problems. My husband has flings with different women and on my part it's so hard and painfull to handle his womanizer attitude and his being an alcoholic. We're living in one roof but our relationship is not like that of a married happy couple. My husband is with me but his heart and mind is with his mistresses. He doesn't treat me as his wife. He doesn't love us, my kids and me. Sometimes I feel depressed. With this kind of relationship with my husband, my love for him has changed to hatred. I hate him so much. How can I love the man who gave so much pain and suffering to my heart. Please help me.
Answer: I am so sorry that you are dealing with this difficult situation. I cannot tell you what to do, but I will say a few things that will hopefully help you make a decision for yourself. One thing I always tell people is that you cannot make anyone do, say or feel anything. All you can do is take responsibility for your own feelings and behaviors. Your husband sounds like he has an addiction and his behavior is not due to anything you did wrong or anything about you at all. He has deep seeded issues that he seems unwilling to address.
I admire and support people who want to stay and fight for their marriage, especially when children are involved; however, one person cannot save a marriage alone. If your husband is not willing to deal with his addiction and work on the marriage through intensive marriage counseling, I am afraid that little will change. This is a website that you may find helpful http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/faq_bs.asp . I point you to number 11, the concept of the 180. It is time for you to stop focusing on your husband and start living your life. Start building yourself up so that you feel strong and independent. That may include going to individual counseling, getting a job, or going to school.
I know this is hard and I know your heart's desire is for your marriage to be healed, but if your husband does not feel the same, then all you can do is work on you. Finally, I tell people that the best gift you can give your children is a happy marriage, but if that is not possible, you may need to examine whether your marriage is actually hurting the children. Staying together in a toxic relationship may be more detrimental to the children in the long run. I wish you the best. God bless.
Abigale S. Hassel is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, and individual and couples counselor. MSW, LCSW, OSW-C.
**The advice provided represents the opinions of the author. It is not to be considered therapy or professional advice of any kind. If you require such advice, you should consult an appropriate professional. Refer to the Marriage Rocks Website Terms and Conditions (link in page footer) for other applicable terms and conditions.**