Newly wed with an Alcoholic Husband


#1

I am in much need of advice and prayer. My husband and I married eight months ago, and for most of our marriage I have lived in fear because he has become a violent alcoholic. He hasn’t physically hurt me (although he pushed me once), but he is verbally and emotionally abusive. He started drinking a month into our marriage, which was a complete shock to me. In the time that we were dating, he never had a sip of alcohol. At family functions he would be offered a drink or two but he always refused. I thought I had met a good man with no vice whatsoever, so I was shocked to find out that he had taken on this bad habit, seemingly out of nowhere.

My husband and I met four years ago in our parish. We were both very active and devout Catholics, each participating in different ministries. We never maintained a courtship, but we went on a few dates. He was very persistent, but respectful. When I decided that I should give him a fair chance and began to date him March 2017, he told me that we had to marry soon or I’d never see him again because he was upset that I wouldn’t commit to a formal relationship. Hesitant, but with the intention of proving that I was willing commit to a relationship, I assented. Two months into our relationship, we began to plan our wedding. During this time, I began to realize that he really was a good man and that my worries about marrying without knowing him too well were dissipating. He is considerably older (15 years older), so I thought that he was mature and responsible. He said he wanted to live a holy marriage, with all its ups and downs, and so did I.

To make long story short, a month after we married, he went out with his cousins and came home extremely drunk and angry. He yelled all the curse words he knew and kept brushing me away when I confronted him about his behavior. This has happened five or six times in the eight months we’ve been married. I’m starting to think that he’s always had an addiction to alcohol, but he never told me or demonstrated that he was. He’s also lied about our finances, and he has become very financially irresponsible. The landlord has raised concerns about him not paying rent on time. He says he’s hard at work but there’s never enough money in the house to pay for the few bills we have. I am not working because I just finished my undergrad studies and I an currently working an unpaid internship, so I depend on him financially and, unfortunately, I can’t shoulder the responsibilities of paying the bills right now.

I’ve given him so many opportunities to change, but he hasn’t. I’ve moved back with my parents twice now. He promised me in July that he would never drink again as long as I moved back, and I did, believing that he would remain sober. Come August, he does it again. I moved back with my parents after consulting with a priest.

To be continued


#2

I’m not sure what to do. I didn’t get married expecting that it would be easy, but this has just become unbearable. It’s upsetting to hear such terrible things come from the one person who promised to love and respect me. I spoke to him a few days ago, and he said (among many other things) that I was a coward for not being there for him when he needs me; that I am only there “for the better” and never “for the worse.” I know he’s right, but I’m not sure that I can be there if he’s treating me this way. This can’t be what God envisioned for marriage. I really want to help him, and it pains me to know he’s suffering but he won’t admit that he has a drinking problem. He won’t recognize that I left because I was legitimately afraid that he’d physically hurt me. It’s hard to put up with the insults, the lies, the drunkenness, the lack of responsibility.

I think, for financial reasons, that I will file for divorce. I know that that does not dissolve our sacramental union. The priest I consulted (who is a close family friend) studied cannon law in Rome and said that based on what I told him that I should begin the process to declare my marriage null once the civil union has been dissolved. Should I? Or should I remain faithful to my vows and help him out of his addiction?

I’m praying and continue to visit the Blessed Sacrament. I’m placing this in God’s hands.


#3

I’m so sorry. You can’t “help him out of his addiction” - only he can do that, and he has to want it. It doesn’t sound like he does.

At the very, very least you need to separate. Please don’t stay with an abusive man. You deserve so much better.


#4

The sooner the better, IMO.

Don’t try to be a martyr.


#5

Why are you asking a bunch of strangers on the internet what to do instead of listening to your priest?


#6

You’re right. I was just seeking support. I’ve actually talked to two priests, who are good family friends and they both told me the same thing.


#7

Well there you go. :slightly_smiling_face: They know better than any of us.
May God bless you and guide you.


#8

Filing for an annulment is something you can do right away, or wait a while and pray about it and decide if that’s what you really want. But you really NEED to get out of this situation now. I wouldn’t worry about the annulment now. Concern yourself with protecting yourself physically, emotionally, and financially.


#9

im praying for you man. I hope he changes


#10

I am sorry for you. He was obviously a drinker which he hid from you. And a bad drinker he is.

This kind of thing just does not happen at a snap of the fingers but built up along the years. He has been dishonest about it with you, which makes it all regrettable.

You do not have much choice especially as he has gone violent after he drank. You have to talk to him frankly about it but choose a time when he is sober, enough to have a reasonable dialogue. You will give him chances to not do it again and for him to leave the habit, but make it clear you will not put up with it.

Keep your word and be firm about it. Show him you are serious about it, which will not bring any future to the marriage. I would say going back to your parents will bring in the message until he demonstrates repentance and wants to change.

Divorce would be a last resort, which you have to discuss with a priest for better advice.

God bless.


#11

I’m so sorry. This is so sad for all involved. I’m just glad you are safe, and urge you to do whatever is necessary to stay safe.

I agree with your priest, not that my opinion matters, but I hope that it helps you that other women agree with what your priest is telling you.

I am amazed that his family didn’t clue you in. Did he hide his alcoholism from them, too? If they knew about this and didn’t say anything to you, I would say they acted in a most despicable way.

Please take care of yourself. I hope you have family or at least good friends that you can go to for rest from the stress and encouragement, as well as any practical help you might need. If you don’t have any family or friends nearby, please ask your kind priest if there are a few families in your parish who might be willing to befriend you at this difficult time.


#12

Thanks everyone. I’m safe with my parents and I have a great support system. This is tough and it hurts that it happened so soon in our marriage. Luckily we didn’t have children (I’m sure God had his hand on this since we were never able to conceive) or else this probably would have been more difficult for both of us and for a child.


#13

I hope and pray that he does, I won’t lose faith that he will by the grace of God! Thanks for the prayers :pray:


#14

Sorry that you find yourself in this situation.

To me it seems that there was a few red flags-the refusal of drinks at family functions (may have seemed like a good thing but wasn’t),him rushing you into getting married,and the 15 year age gap.

Can you try telling him that you love him and want to support him as a husband for better or worse,but that means him also facing reality and trying to get help for his drinking problem and that better or worse is not the same as a toxic or drama filled relationship?
That you both need to do your parts.

If you moving back makes him complacent and feel ok to start drinking again then it’s probably not a good idea to move back as you are teaching him that you are willing to accept this “lifestyle”.
Maybe by living separately,but not necessarily divorcing yet,hopefully he will value the relationship so much that he will decide to address his drinking problem.

At the same time,if I was in your situation I would take this time to work on myself and look at what it was in me that made me not be able to see these red flags.
For example if a man 15 years older than me was trying to date me I probably wouldn’t think they were mature and responsible.
I would probably more likely think they were immature (and possibly even sleazy) and question why he’s trying to date a younger woman instead of someone around his own age.
I also would think that a good man would be patient and understanding instead of rushing me into marriage.
It’s easy to see that from an “outsider” though but not so easy when a person is in that situation themselves.


#15

I don’t believe the young lady did anything incorrectly. If she has had no experience with alcoholism, then why would she recognize the symptoms of the disease?

Alcoholics can be very good at hiding their condition. So much is at stake–they will do whatever is necessary to survive. He was able to not drink in her presence for the time of their dating relationship.

They met 4 years ago. She did everything right–she waited to date him, went on a few dates to get to know him, and then started a more serious dating relationship.

The husband has manifested at least one act of violence against his wife (pushed her). These incidents will increase, and if the woman doesn’t get out and stay out, she may not get out alive.

He sounds to me like an alcoholic who hasn’t come to terms with his disease. He was able to stop for a while (long enough to find a wife who he thought would fix his life and finances). But all it took was one outing with relatives to get him off the wagon. It sounds to me like his family is in denial about his disease. They must have known that he can’t remain sober–why on earth did they offer him alcohol or invite him to an outing that involved drinking alcohol?

He needs rehab and continuous monitoring by whatever organization he decides works best for him (12 steps is one example).

The priest has given the woman the advice to leave the marriage–chances are good that the priest has seen situations like this before and knows that the woman needs to take this step for her own safety and also to force the alcoholic to seek treatment. As long as she sticks with him and unwillingly enables his behavior, he will continue to suffer from the disease. I have my doubt that her leaving will be a turning point for him. I’m guessing he’ll just find another woman and try the same trick.

As for him not drinking at the family affairs–he knew that if he took one drink, he would continue drinking. So he abstained long enough to acquire a wife. Sneaky and evil. Alcoholism is a killer of body and soul.

With other diseases, it is appropriate to expect the spouse to stick with the marriage and be there for their spouse’s suffering, treatment, and hopefully cure or demise.

But alcoholism presents a very real danger to the non-alcoholic spouse. It’s not the same as cancer or M.S. or Parkinson’s. A spouse who sticks with an alcoholic may not be safe.

If the spouse knows alcoholism and has the courage and the skills to help with the treatment, they could stay. But even worse than the alcoholism in this case is the deceit–he didn’t tell her about his disease and neither did anyone else in the family. That’s evil.

I think the priest has given her the best advice and she should follow it with no qualms of conscience. She was tricked into marriage, so it’s very likely that the tribunal will grant an annulment.


#16

You cannot “help” someone out of their addiction. That’s dangerous thinking. This guy needs to “help” himself and you need to protect yourself. He has already shown himself to be not only alcoholic, but also abusive, and the whole “please come back, I promise I won’t drink any more” is a classic abusive spouse tactic.

Listen to your priest, his advice is very sensible and I’m guessing he may have even seen this kind of situation a few times before.

Get yourself out of this situation before anything worse happens, such as you conceiving a child with this messed-up man.


#17

There are cultures where marriage of a young woman to an older man is considered very normal and a responsible thing to do. The man is supposed to go out and establish himself in business and become a good financial provider before he goes seeking a wife. Not every older man interested in a younger wife is necessarily immature or abusive. It depends on the individual person.


#18

I also recommend listening to your priest. But I will add one thought. Alcoholics typically won’t seek help until they’ve hit rock bottom. You should let him know that when he is ready to get help, which only he can decide, that you will be there for him. When and if that time comes, never be alone with him. Have a trusted person, male if possible, be there with you. Find out what help is available in your community ahead of time so you will know what to do at the time. Don’t make any promises that you will go back to him if he gets help. Pray, pray and pray some more for him. God Bless


#19

I’m aware this exists but that doesn’t necessarily mean I think it’s a good thing if for no other reason then it creates an imbalanced society.
If all men were to marry young women then who would the women who were the same age as those men marry.
The cultures you mentioned are usually middle eastern and countries like that also usually have a mentality of valuing women off based of beauty and I’m not sure that’s a good thing and I think there’s a correlation between this mentality and the “trend” of accepting marriages of vast age differences.
Russia is another country where women are sometimes accepting of a older husband and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that often these women have absent fathers who have left their own mothers at some point or are cheaters.They also may perceive that the older men are more responsible and stable but this is debatable as their only comparison is young Russian men who may often be want to play the field and not commit.Some of the women believe that an older man would have got the cheating out of their system.
It more just a bad indictment on the younger guys then anything else.

I come from a Slavic background somewhat similar to Russia but it is predominantly Catholic country (at least was) and most people marry at reasonably similar ages,older men are usually more perceived as stric/uncle/kumovo rather that romance material so I like this “societal order” but that’s just my opinion.

Regarding OP,I do agree there can be some older men who are not necessarily immature or “opportunist” and maybe if that was the only obvious thing before marriage but when looking at all the “pieces” together maybe there was a red flag or two.


#20

Where I grew up, the cultures where older guys married younger women were often Polish, Slavic, Russian and other central and Eastern European cultures.

I think you’re reading an awful lot of your own biases into other people’s relationships. You have this “thing” about “valuing women based on beauty” that you’ve already started a number of previous threads about.
I am personally aware of marriages where the man was significantly older than his wife, but was not an abuser and ones where the wife, though younger, was not exactly a beauty queen. There are a lot of different reasons why people with an age difference get married. Sometimes they simply fall in love.

In any event, the man’s age is not really relevant to the problem here, which is that he is an abusive alcoholic. Abusive alcoholic husbands come in all different ages.


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