JC: Deb, staying stuck in the place of unanswered questions is very emotionally unhealthy. I’d suggest that you make a gratitude list of things you are grateful for in your life today. I’d work on making a list of goals for my own life and gradually work toward accomplishing them. I’d detach from all of the unanswered questions that surround the insanity of addictive behavior and attach myself to things I am certain of. Even though your Ex may not have been an alcoholic, the lifestyle you were coping with was filled with insanity. It’s up to you now to stop the insanity within your mind by letting go of him and the relationship completely. Immerse yourself in new and invigorating things that bring satisfaction into your personal life.
Guest Post By: Debbie
I have posted before prior to my divorce which is now final. My Ex has moved and I’m not sure where.
Now that it is finally quiet in my home again, instead of healing, I am suffering from extreme depression because I never got any closure on whether he truly was an alcoholic or just a very abusive man with a dependence on alcohol. Other addictions of his included pornography, use of escorts and such, gambling, etc.
My mind keeps telling me instead of staying away during the divorce and doing “no contact” I should have tried to talk to him but was afraid of being “sucked back in” and so now I have so many unanswered questions I cannot stop the merry-go-round in my brain.
Is it likely I will find out if he ever loved me? How many affairs he had? Why he stayed in the marriage when he seemed to hate me? And my big one–why after I filed for divorce did he then go to a marriage counselor while already starting to date someone else seriously?
If I only saw my husband “drunk” once in 20 years–can I still attribute his meanness, lying, degrading me and other addictions to his use of alcohol? What is the likelihood I will ever get the truth from him?
I feel that in order for me to move on I need these answers and yet in my heart I know I may never get them, but I am like frozen–just keep going over all his words and actions searching for the truth. Is there anyway to find my answers I seek?
Debbie, maybe I can help you with one of your unanswered questions. If your husband was addicted to pornography, every time he indulged, he was cheating on you. When we are left to our own devices to try and figure out the insanity of this kind of behavior we will certainly go insane ourselves. Regardless, the question I think you must ask yourself is “how important are these things?” Perhaps you can get to the place of accepting that there are unanswered questions, let go of the past and get focused on living in the moment.
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Steps To Letting Go Of An Alcoholic
Debbie, bless your heart. You say you know you may never get the answers you want. The truth is you won’t ever get the answers. Hoping for the truth from your ex- is like hoping if you jump off a roof that you’ll be able to fly before you hit the ground. You’re suffering from some of the side-effects of living with a drunk, and after 20 years, it’s going to take some time to un-do the crazy-making thought patterns you got into during those 20 years. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, but I have an idea. After 5 years with my ex- it’s taken me the best part of a year to get to the point where it doesn’t matter to me what his version of the truth was. All that matters is the truth as I lived it. Please stop second-guessing yourself and what you know to be true. Living with and dealing with an addict is a recipe for insanity. They’re not sane (I don’t believe any addict is) and they make everyone around them almost as crazy as they are.
I understand your depression, but there are things you can do to help yourself. If you’ve had the strength to divorce him, you have the strength you need to finish your journey back to a safe, sane and productive life. Get up and get moving. Any kind of activity, from actual exercise to simply cleaning out a drawer or closet, will make you begin to feel better. Do whatever you can to create a sense of accomplishment for yourself. It feels good to create order out of chaos, and that’s what you did when you began your journey out of the world of lies and deceit you lived in with your ex-.
Debbie, I read something years ago that has helped me so much over the last year. It was this, “Depression is simply anger without a voice.” Give yourself a voice. Free yourself to get mad, really mad, at your ex- about the wreck he made of your life together and get mad at all he put you through. Get mad that he cheated on you. Get mad that he lied to you. Get mad – then take the energy getting mad creates (because it creates lots of energy) and do something good for yourself with that energy. Every little thing that you do for yourself will help ease your heartache and get you closer to a better life.
You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Please stay in touch with us here and keep moving forward to a better future for yourself. Be kind to yourself when you feel down, but keep pushing for something better for yourself.
Debbie, I think the reason we ask questions and want answers is because we’re trying to make sense out of the situation. Subconsciously we think if we can make it make sense, we can avoid it in the future. But we can’t make sense of it, because it’s insane. And the answers to “why” questions don’t make any difference; they have no affect on the damage that has been done.
Would it change anything for the better if you knew how many affairs your ex had? No, you would hurt more than ever. Would you feel better knowing that he really never loved you? Of course not! Please stop picking the scab off of the wound. Let it heal.
And, Debbie, maybe your husband wasn’t an alcoholic, in which case he was just a mean, cruel, lying, cheating jerk. Does it matter? He was obviously addicted to lots of other things, so he manifested the same behaviors.
Stop wasting your time and your thoughts on your ex. It’s the past. Get out of the past and into the present. Don’t spend anymore of your precious life on him. Take care of YOURSELF and live YOUR LIFE.
I am currently separated from my alcoholic husband and will be filing for divorce in five months. There is no chance of reconciliation for us; yet he is kinder to me than he has been for many years. Why is he doing this now? Who knows? Maybe he realizes what he’s lost. Maybe he’s trying to make up for lost time? Does it matter? No. I’m just delighted that we can communicate on a friendly basis and not have to hate each other.
Move forward, Debbie. Remember, if you were driving and only looked in the rear view mirror, you couldn’t see where you were headed and would certainly crash! Stop looking in the rear view mirror.
I feel for you. The unanswered questions can definitely lead do depression. In my case I had to know how he felt about me to know how I felt about him! But being a codependent I think most of my relationships have been based on how the man felt about me, rather than the other way around! I had to get them to love me! That’s not to say I would just be with anyone who showed an interest but I could not always get in touch with how I felt about my other half.
I have hung onto the hope of being with my addicted boyfriends for 7 years. I never really expressed my full anger with him in case it put him off coming back. Sally is right it leads to depression and unless you say how you feel and that they have treated you like S…they go on doing it. Once you get it off your chest the depression might ease a little but you can’t force it. One day the anger might just come to you! Its taken years for me to stop finding
reasons for my boyfriends behavior and just say it how it is. He treated me in an abusive fashion.
I wasn’t just upset about the deception of using drugs and seeing other women. It was the lack of respect for me.
He really didn’t think it mattered that he was lying. …and there I think is our answer.
Its not the affairs, drugs or alcohol that hurt us its the fact that it doesn’t matter that they lie to us!
They are happy to lie about everything!…..why are we upset? Lying is their entitlement right?
Lets say Debbie and I had no feeling for anyone in particular
We thought lying and being believed was our right…like breathing!
We wanted to avoid people who were against our addiction
We wanted as much love and support as we could get ( from whom ever!)
Maybe WE would see several people at once after all we have decided along time ago with the first ever conflict over our using that WE CAN DO NO WRONG!
So Debbie it doesn’t make sense its crazy. It helps me to think of a well known celebrity who has gone off the rails. I can see their behavior in a detached way and I think thank goodness I’m not married to them. That helps me to see that from an outsiders point of view my addicted boyfriend is bad news!
My old flat mate had a drug problem. I know he loved his girlfriend but every time they had a bust up (over his behavior) he filled the gap with some one else even though he was grieving for his girlfriend. I couldn’t understand it. Maybe they have to fill the void? They can’t cope with the discomfort of being on their own. But then they can’t cope with any emotional discomfort..hence the drink and drugs. Sometimes I think he pushed her away because he didn’t think he was good enough for her. He was pretty in awe of her. Some times he would say really egotistical things like I deserve a beautiful girlfriend! Think he was high at the time. Other times he would cry because he had been too outrageous in front of her friends and she hadn’t liked it. Interesting being the flat mate you see the stuff the girlfriends dont get to see. You can see these guys questioning their own behavior and then immediately shrugging it off. They are bothered but not as bothered as getting their next fix.
They say addiction is cunning and mysterious so I guess there are no logical explanations for their behavior trying to find answers drags us into the insanity.
I hope you keep looking after your self. Just for today put the unanswered questions in a box and turn around and focus on something positive for you. Anything that grabs your attention. I bought a cheap old motor home and got my friends to join me on little jaunts. Kitting out the van took a lot my attention (lots of eBay purchases) choosing gadgets, cushions,pots and pans etc. Then planning where to go. Debbie I was still depressed and wanted to be doing it with my other half but I was doing something to occupy my mind and preparing for the trips was a good distraction from the head exploding questioning!
Hope you find some little or large activities hobbies to distract you whilst you recover.
All the best
Sally, Uncadiane and Sarah, WOW, WOW, WOW! You all have shared amazing wisdom. I am so grateful for the faithful participants on this website.
Debbie, we all know exactly the struggle you are in. Addicts have a way of leaving us with bags full of uncertainty. It will do us all good to find something else to attach our mind to. The good news is that what you are going through will eventually dissolve into a pool of insignificant waters. You know what they say; “this to shall pass.” If your Ex isn’t paying rent to stay in your head, then kick him out…
Let him go honey. He’s not worth the effort anymore.
Thank you all for all your great suggestions. It just is so difficult because I feel like I was living a lie thinking this man loved me and now finding out that maybe from day one he was doing all this under-handed stuff behind my back & he was getting help from his family. At one point his sister (who I helped get a job at my company) spread rumors about me that got to the owners and she put my job at risk. So I just would like to know that since staying away from him & divorcing him within 9 months of that why the harassment continues–is life that “peachy” for him? Maybe some answers would help.
But I will take every suggestion you all offered knowing that you’ve all experienced this. & just keep moving forward as it seems I really have no choice.
Its quite a shock when you realize EVERYTHING might have been a lie! But I don’t think its that simple. During my therapy I had this horrible dream where I went to visit my x and at the back of his “cave like” house I found loads of photos and mementos of parts of his life I knew nothing about. Like one of those killers out of csi! Scary. I think it was just too upsetting to think that none of it was real and he was tricking me from the start. But now I don’t think he was completely tricking me his MIND was just all over the place and that took HIM all over the place.
I get so angry to think I was completely insignificant and he has moved on and is living a “peachy” life. But if life with him was crazy it will be crazy for any new woman too. Also I don’t think they are deliberately deceitful. Life is so chaotic and negative for them they have to be extra creepy and sucking up in their new relationships to make up for what an farce they know they are.
Don’t worry what his sister and family think about you. YOU KNOW THE TRUTH.
Also a friend once said to me when I felt let down by a friend who had used me and moved on…
A shepherd doesn’t count his sheep by only looking at his old goat!
Have you got some old friends you could meet up with? Someone who you have known for a long time who can give you a sense of your self back.
Thinking about the rumors…my x said some ridiculous things about a girl he had been seeing since we split up. He said he had to stop seeing her because she was a dark satanic force!
It used to drive me mad that he fooled people into feel sorry for him whilst all the time he was hurting me. But his friends must begin to smell a rat. Now I don’t want any one to feel sorry for me. I just no longer want to feel sorry! I slip quite a bit though. I feel really sorry for myself sometimes.
It was never his fault. He said he split up with one girl because couldn’t take her out for dinner with friends because she just kept talking about herself! mm sounds familiar. I think they call that transference.
Also the coke/alcohol taking flat mate I mentioned in my last post got his other dubious mates to join in with his bad mouthing of his x. They were only supporting his version of events because the truth would mean admitting that his addiction ( and therefore their own ) was the cause of the break up. Chances are your x’s sister is in denial without realizing it. We all get caught up in the addict’s spell. After a while little bits of info wont add up and your sister in law will begin to realize somethings up. It can take ages though, as we know from our own experience of the addict.
You are right, you have no choice but to keep going..but you have a head start on your x he is still on a downward spiral where as you are on the path to recovery. Think of it like Lord of the Rings. He’s like Glum in that fiery cave still chasing that bloody ring. You are on that rocky mountain. Tired, depleted, confused, but you are not in the cave and eventually you will get back to the shire! OK I’m getting carried away. I just think we cant get over our relationships just like that,it cant be done in our head and it takes time. That last film of Lord of the Rings took ages to end! But it ended happily in the end.
You are stuck in the mindless wheel of the past and why. It will get you no where going over the past to work out why and if. Look at today and look at where you want to be then set up a plan and pathway for you to achieve it. Take control of where you are and where you are heading by releasing the toxic thoughts that revolve around the past only. You’ll be stuck there forever if you don’t move away from it all. Don’t allow the past to permeate the potential for your future. You are a living breathing person that needs peace from a past of turmoil. Start creating this new peaceful life for you by striking away the negativity of the past. Only go to the past to release a negative thought that is holding you back today. For instance, “is it likely that I will ever find out if he ever loved me”. So what if he did or didn’t, it is certain to say he doesn’t behave like he does now so leave that negative thought in the dustbin of the past never to be retrieved or recycled into your life of now.
I agree with the wisdom people share here.
Debbie, you have already achieved to have this addict removed from your life. It is normal feel a bit loss initially. In a long term, this is a first step for you to move forward, make plans for your future.
So be brave, look forward, not backward, cut off the past, it would allow you to unload the unwanted baggage.
By focusing on yourself, your future could help your inner peace.
I have found myself damaged by my alcoholic, gambler partner. For long time I was searching for the answers of similar questions. Self help study from the website groups here and others helped me a lot to gain the information of why he behaves in such way. It provided me the knowledge as well as power to calm myself. I now use these methods to deal with him in a daily bases.
What I learned was, the people who addicted to unhealthy behaviors could be immature. they need these addiction to help them to cope. As the normal human beings like us, we naturally want to help them to become normal, unfortunately, we let them sucked us and dragged down with them, which is wrong in my view.
We need to protect ourselves, jump out their mad cycle. Repair ourselves to become emotional normal again, which I think is a very important first step to build our future.
My view is not force yourself to search for these unanswered questions, are they worth your afford? Are they important for you to move on to build your future? Does it stop you to move forward with knowing the answers?
If I was you, I would be happily move forward, be alone for a while at least. Regain the independent living, learn to doing things by yourself.
I was single for 10 years before met my current partner. I was much happier then. Relationship with an addiction is difficult and wouldn’t last because it is dysfunctional. Mine is ending soon I think. I don’t have such addiction problems and I don’t need them.
Take care everyone.
Oh you guys with your posts actually had me smiling & laughing. I read another post that finally sunk in with me that it was the alcohol when I get to read everyone else’s stories I see now mine was no different.
I am taking your advice to heart over the last 3 months and have signed up at my local state college to finally finish my degree–at my age–I can probably be these other students grandmother but not to worry I’m plowing my way forward. How I’m going to pay for it I have no clue yet.
I literally have done everything to make it impossible for my EX to contact me, get his hands on my mail, etc. I have made it impossible for all his friends & relatives to come near me–new phone everything but still one problem that ex-sister inlaw works for the same company as me and I’ve heard the bad-mouthing has continued from her. How to handle that?
And just still bouts of depression that I’m having a difficult time with but I’ll just come back here & read all those great responses. I’m sure that will help take away some of the pain.
Thank you guys for all your kind words & wonderful support!!!
Sarah: Your message is absolutely terrific. I read it twice before I started to take parts of it to memory.
I can attest that dating an alcoholic is not for the weak or meek! The woman before me let my ex-alcoholic would do anything just to keep the peace and be with him for a total of 8 miserable years!
He hadn’t change at all when I met him at a mutual friends’ house – no one told me he is an alcoholic, that he lies about even the weather!! And, it goes on and on… I picked up on his weird behavior almost immediately and called him on it. I was a member of a country club, and he was very happy being around my friends, etc.
They do not change – they are only nice in public.
Sorry about all the typing mistakes! Debbi thats great you are finishing your degree. What a huge positive step. Keeping busy is definately a good idea. I found that the feelings of confusion/ broken heartedness/ anger are still lurking but keeping busy gives you a rest from them. Like I said I saw my x before Christmas and the disease of addiction is contageous! I definately became ill and depressed from becoming emeshed with him again. For me the no contact is good.
Any one go any suggestions on how Debbi should handle the sister- in- law? shame she works at the same place as you. I listened to this relaxation cd once and it talked about imagining a wall around you ( like a castle) and filling in any little gaps that may have appeared with little stones or concreit or moss. Even if she spreads rumours to everyone and she is handing out arrows to fire at you, you are secure and safe behind your wall!
Yes I like that….Princess Debbi and Sarah (and all other supporters of these posts) up in the castle and all the wild alcoholics, addicts and their army of supporters outside chasing around tripping over their swords!
Why do we need to go down there and get involved with defending ourselves against the like of your sister in law or my x’s mates we are secure up in our castle.
Dont worry about the depression give it time. you have been through a lot and you are probably still in shock
Am so impressed with the college thing…and its all about you..for a bloomin change thats great
Sarah & C–you certainly know how to inspire me!
& Yep! just came from the college & I am the oldest at 55 and good chance I can be their grandmothers. I can only afford (not even sure of that) to take one class. Going for my accounting degree that was started 40 years ago–god I feel so old but we’ll give her a go. Very depressed sitting there through orientation & signing up for one class but determined to keep moving forward despite my depression.
I’ve been told by friends that this depression is normal and I may be in it for quite awhile because of it being such a long-term relationship but she repeated everything you guys did to just keep trying to get the focus back on me
Thanks Again For all That Wonderful Support!
Debbi, I think I turned 51 in October? Ahhh, the thing about me is that if you give me something to accomplish, I feel alive inside. I spend a lot of my life accessing the creativity within. It’s a very compelling thing for me to have a vision of something and make it become a reality. When I am working on doing something with the gifts God has given to me, I feel young and exhilarated.
I would certainly encourage you to reach out to others during this transitional time. When tragedy happens, friends and family rally around for a small amount of time. You know how we all are… as time goes on, we get so busy in our own little worlds that we have a tendency to forget about people like yourself who are still hurting. So often when I pick up the phone to see if a friend would like to do something, they are just sitting around doing nothing.
When I divorced, I poured myself into creating music. I got involved in writing songs with friends and recording CDs. I actually over did it because I was the leader of three different bands at one point.
Anyway, I’m a little off of the topic of having unanswered questions about the alcoholic. I guess that’s how it works though, focus on something else and the questions will fade.
Got another message on my answering machine from a woman that was on our bowling league 2 years ago trying to find my ex & after a year of this phone being shut off she calls after I get my phone back on for one week. Getting calls on my cell from singles club. . .was sure he was giving out my cell so shut it off & now this woman who I suspected he had a one-night stand with and possibly bought a bicycle 2 years ago for her daughter & put it in our garage with some lame excuse now calls on my phone for him & says “remember me from bowling 2 years agao–it’s very important you call me”. I just can’t seem to stop the madness & instead of getting my questions answered I get more problems that sink me back down with even more questions!!
Can’t get final paperwork done with divorce because yet again his union along with his family & everyone else helps him to get away with all his antics even illegal. Sending certified letters doesn’t work. My attorney gave up so I’m on my own.
So I’m back to all my old questions again & wondering why things just won’t once turn my way. Add to that I got the bill for school and don’t have the money to pay because of holdup on final payouts from ex’s union, broke my tooth, scheduled for another surgery/checkup in February & no money & no insurance.
Help sinking fast–how do you cope and keep from repeatedly going into depression–everytime I start to focus on something else I swear my ex has a camera on me and “Bamm” I get hit with more problems to sink me lower & lower.
Sometimes I swear it’s him creating these problems & sometimes I think I’m just going crazy. Absolutely no family in area to help me–can’t afford counseling–no free counseling in my area. I’m sinking fast again!
Debbie, when someone asks me how my day is going, I respond by saying: “it all depends on what I focus on.” I know that you are frustrated and feel lonely. When I get this way, as hard as it is, I take time to make a list of the things I am grateful for. I also attempt to live in the moment and handle one issue at a time. Somehow in the middle of the messes, I also focus on keeping life light and enjoyable. Sometimes that means I get some of my favorite ice cream, kick back and watch a good movie or read a good book for a while. Finally, or firstly, I give all of the mess to God and reflect back on the times when I know that I know He helped me through the difficulties in life. Trust God Debbie!
I read your post & just wanted to say that I totally understand that feeling. My situation is that I stopped talking to my closest friend who is an alcoholic. I do miss the friendship but I feel I can’t go back. The problem is there were so many lies & so much trust has been broken!
It’s really hard as I try to be polite (returned a Happy Christmas & new year text)!
Although I miss the friendship I just don’t think I can forget the bad times.
I would love answers too, about many things & why she did and said things!
The biggest thing for me is there has been no apology & no mention or offer of money that I lent her (to ensure she had a safe place to live). It’s almost like I can’t get the questions out of my head! Why & how can someone treat you badly when you have tried to help & been good to them & their family?!?!
I received a message recently as if nothing had happened, as if we are still friends (as before) even though I have not spoken to her for almost a year now! It just made me feel angry! she mentioned she was no longer drinking (for a start I don’t know if I believe it) …. I’m not sure I can just go back to this friendship & gloss over the past, we at least need to talk about it or for her to acknowledge things. Even if there had been an apology or some mention of things on the message I could have replied, but as it was I just couldn’t bring myself to!
I guess I’m just too hurt & messed up still!
I wish I could just forget it, although I try my best to get on with my life there are still these thoughts that don’t seem to fade!
Thank you for your message–I see I am not the only one who wants closure–just the reason why so it would be easier to face all the future things that seem to keep coming at me–repercusions of his behavior.
The pain of hearing he shows love and affection to someone else but not for me the last 5 years of marriage is weighing on me. I keep hoping for 30 seconds where someone else tells me they saw what happened and why so I can finally close this chapter of my life and move on. Then if future things arise I can say “oh I know what it is about his feelings towards me that makes him do this now”. That way it will no longer bother me.
Maybe we both will get our answers soon!
I stumbled upon this site and saw a conversation for a girl named Debbie. I have been married to an alcoholic for 20 years who has probably never been faithful to me, has blamed me for his drinking and cheating and I have finally had enough. The advice given here is both thoughtful and wise and even though this was for another Debbie, this Debbie is going to take the advice and run with it. II have been guilted into staying in this horrible marriage long enough.
Deborah: Like you I stumbled onto this site. It is one best I came across. Do not let guilt stop you from taking care of your self. Last night I started thinking about my ex alcoholic. Then I remember the bad things she put us through. So follow the advice on this site. My favorite is DO NOT LET THE ALCOHOLIC take up space in your head. Take care. WE wish you well on this site.
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