cleaning house

Old 12-30-2011, 10:05 PM
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cleaning house

I am trying to tie up some loose ends for the new year and working on reflecting on the past year and setting some goals and priorities for the next year.
My AH and I have been separated since March '10-no legal papers. He just sort of quit being a husband /father/friend. I went NC for a while after some very hurtful exchanges.
We have recently had some good conversations on the phone and through text.
We start off talking about some house or insurance matter and then talk about the kids or family. I have heard him sound less defensive and aggressive but he is not addressing the drinking nor am I.
M daughter told me last year, as I told her that I wasn't ready to let go yet that I didn't have to until I realized that holding on was hurting me more than it was helping.
I have lived with the hope that something will change. I know I do not want my marriage to end but I cannot go back to living with an A. He shows no signs of wanting to quit.
I still don't think I am ready to give up hope but I am thinking it is holding me back and am looking to make some changes this year.
So here is my question-do I engage him in an honest conversation about where we stand and what he thinks will happen to us in the future? He shows no indication about wanting to go through any legal steps to dissolve the marriage. Or should I just take his lack of communication with his family to indicate that he is not interested in being part of our lives and that he is waiting for me to cut the ties?
I really don't want to be the first one to get the ball rolling because it isn't what I want but I guess I have to realize that I can't have what I want.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:57 PM
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Jamaica, I'm not separated from my AH, but we are living separately in the same house for almost a year. He too doesn't want to quit drinking or talk about that or our relationship. I just told my counselor this week that I wanted him to admit that he's an alcoholic, which he's never done. She asked me why that was important to me, and I told her because I thought it was the first step to him getting help. She asked me to think about why I needed that confirmation from him since it wouldn't assure me he wanted to quit drinking. Of course, he's never even come close to admitting to anything, and when I've brought up his drinking in the past few months, he gives me some lame quacking about how he tried everything and it didn't matter. I drug him to counseling for a few joint sessions, but as long as he's drinking, there's no point to that because he just gets defensive. My AH also shows no signs of wanting to dissolve the marriage. So where do we go from here when we love men who love to drink more than they love anything or anyone? I'm thinking that divorce court is probably my only choice at this point. We can't cure them or make they want to be cured or we would have done that long ago. Pray for all of us who are facing just a weighty dilemma in 2012.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:54 AM
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I guess you need to decide if you're content to just go with the status quo. Sometimes, when we don't know what to do, the best thing is to do nothing. At some point, it may hit you that you're tired of just drifting along and want to make some changes and move on. In order to move on, you have to let go of where you are. When that becomes important to you, then you'll take the steps to make the necessary changes.

Someone here on SR, sorry, can't remember who, has this as their signature...

How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.

When you are ready to fly, you'll know.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:49 AM
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I, too, can sympathize with your situation. I'm separated from my husband, although for other reasons (he's not an alcoholic). About a month ago I had to bite the bullet and DECIDE what I wanted....I was tired of living in limbo. I also needed to make some new living arrangements and that helped me move forward with a decision.

This question caught my attention:
Originally Posted by jamaicamecrazy View Post
So here is my question-do I engage him in an honest conversation about where we stand and what he thinks will happen to us in the future?
I think he has firmly planted the ball in YOUR court by not seeking recovery. He's saying to you by his ACTIONS, "I'm not going to quit drinking. Take me or leave me as I am." What would be the point of having a conversation other than to state what you have observed and to explain that you have come to a decision based on those observations?

He is apparently content knowing he hasn't quite lost you completely yet....and is able to continue drinking. Not having a wife or kids to deal with frees him up to drink as much as he darn well pleases. It appears that he is OK with that. At least he hasn't had to feel the pain of divorce and watching his ex move on with her life. That hurts.

I understand the part about not wanting to give up hope. If the issue were anything other than abuse, alcohol or drugs, I'd say there IS reason to hope. In nearly 2 years of separation he hasn't given you much reason to hang on. But you'll know when it's time. I have an aunt who was separated from her husband for 20 years! He died without them ever getting a divorce! (He was a serious alcoholic too....and she loved him very much.)

I just don't think there's a need to "discuss" all of this with your AH other than to let him know when/if you've decided to go ahead with the divorce. All you need to know is in his actions.

Good luck and (((hugs)))
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:23 AM
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:20 AM
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Anvilhead- thank you for your "gentle" remark. That is exactly what I need to hear. What marriage indeed. I know I want a miracle to occur. And I guess it isn't happening.
We had a really good marriage for 25 years and then he stopped being a partner-something that I still to this day wonder if it had to do with the alcohol or not.
I get frustrated with myself that I am not further along in this process but I know I cannot force my feelings and there will come a time when I am ready to let go.
It's funny BoomerLady. I once thought that him admitting he was an A was the first step. He admitted it years ago and even went to a few meetings but guess what...he did not want to make that change. He admitted in counseling that he had more of a relationship with alcohol than with me. Then of course it became that he drank in order to stay with me. Well, I'm gone and he's still drinking. The more he realizes what he says are lies the more he clings to the alcohol. Stubborn mule that he is. And I am no better.
At one point it was very important that he claim responsibility for all he had done to make the marriage fizzle out. He did not. I wanted an apology so I could forgive him. I now know that I am expecting something he is not capable of. And that I can forgive him no matter what. Forgive him for my own sake. So I can live my life without the resentment and anger. Now I want him to be the one to say he wants the marriage to end. I will not give him an "easy out" and I want him to know I am not the one saying chicken first. Perhaps through my recovery I will let go of this pridefulness and spitefulness and it wont matter anymore who says it. It will just be the right thing to do.
Thank you all for you insight.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
you've been separated for virtually TWO years, he has NOT changed nor does he WANT to change.....i dare ask gently....when you say you do not want the marriage to end....WHAT marriage?

I must add. When I have big decisions to make I break it down to three options. Then it becomes SO VERY CLEAR to me! This is what I see as your options (but you may see it completely differently).

1 - Keep living seperately and change nothing: Outcome - nothing changes!
2 - Move back in togther: That has proven unsuccessful. Outcome - nothing changes!
3 - Divorce: Outcome - You move forward and create a life of peace and joy for yourself and find happiness. He does whatever he feels compelled to do with his life.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity! If you change nothing, NOTHING WILL CHANGE!

I finally realized this and I told my AH after 23 years of marriage that the drinking had to end. I had the last fight about alcohol and I did. I was going to be happy with or without him, but I was going to find happiness again, and I have! He ultimately did quit and has been sober for 3 years. But about 1 1/2 into recovery he told me he couldn't promise me he'd never drink again. My response I think surprised him. I told him I made no promises either but I would not be married to him if he drank - period. And I won't. I think he was testing the waters.

I'll pray for wisdom and peace for you in your journey!
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:27 PM
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I still don't think I am ready to give up hope but I am thinking it is holding me back and am looking to make some changes this year.
So here is my question-do I engage him in an honest conversation about where we stand and what he thinks will happen to us in the future?
If he's still drinking you don't have a relationship. His higher power and the great love of his life is booze. Does he care so much he's willing to stop drinking? This is a very tough question to ask but it was necessary for me to break the denial.

One of the hardest things in life is leaving a long-term relationship, in this case marriage. I can't imagine anyone who isn't intimidated by walking away into the unknowable future. It's a good idea to go easy on yourself, this is a process and give yourself credit for making enormous progress.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:59 PM
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Thanks, Jamaica, for your comment on AHs breaking through their denial. I know that you are right. I really like what NYC has to say too about giving yourself credit for your progress thus far. I've been trying to do that with myself because NYC is right that it is very intimidating to leave a long-term relationship. At least we both have detached enough from our marriages to realize that we can't live with their alcoholism. Now, we just need to decide what we want for our futures. The more I value myself the more I realize that I want more than what he can give me. I'll be praying for you and your situation with your AH.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:25 PM
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Jamaica, you might want to read a book called "Rebuilding When your Relationship Ends" by Dr Bruce Fisher and Dr Rober Alberti. Not that your relationship has ended, but it has some really good information (helping me at least) and covers a section about the "Dumper" and the "Dumpee". IMO it sounds like he is forcing you to be the "Dumper" which has it's own issues, but if you are prepared for them, then you will be better off. Sorry you are going through this. I don't know if I would have the strength to hold on for two years to someone who wasn't willing to work for me... Wait a second, I held on for 7 years!! But the divorce process has only been a couple of months! I hope it all works out for you in the way that "YOU CHOOSE".
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:33 PM
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No legal papers?

Eegads.. what worries me since living apart for two years.. with no legal papers, do you have any idea if he's racked up any mutual debt during that time??
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:29 PM
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Ponder, I know it sounds absurd. So far everything has been fine. He paid all the house bills while he lived here alone. Now I am living here paying all the house bills and keeping track of such. If there is a major bill that comes up I send him the bill and he pays me half- or should I say, I write myself a check because I am still on his checking account. My finances are all separate. He has 1 primary credit card which I do not use. I have several cards that he does not use. The house stuff is mostly in both our names. He does not like to spend money. He rather walk around with holes in his sneakers and jeans than go to the nearest WalMart to buy a pair. Its one of the things that used to annoy me. Its not like we are strapped for money. I have not seen or heard that he is spending a heck of a lot of money- in fact he went for more than a year without a TV! Believe me, if I had a concern as far as finances, then I would have already done something to protect myself. at this point , without legal papers, I am ahead of the game. If we were to start to divide stuff up I might have to buy him out of the house. This is another reason I have not done anything legally.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:17 PM
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ah okay. I'm just going by my own experience with a bad divorce. I was naive and trusted my ex way too much when it came to financials, never hired a lawyer. Ugh.. now my credit is in the toilet.

But it sounds like you got a good eye on things.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:55 AM
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Separated but still deciding

I have been married 43 yrs. to my AH. I finally moved out of our house last July and have really enjoyed being on my own. Since moving out and after him being hospitalized 3-4 times last year (all due to his drinking) I couldn't take it anymore. He broke a foot from falling, that turned into a very ugly bone infection that needed about 4 mos. of treatment (even a nursing home for IV treatment) and I was always there to help him thru it. He has now been sober for about 4 mos. and is finally attending AA meetings and says he enjoys them. He keeps thinking I'll return when my lease is up in July but as of right now, I'm not going to do it. Finances have been really hard since we still have a mortgage and now my living expenses. However, even after 10 yrs. of retirement, I will get a job if necessary. I know my grown adult children want me to stay apart cuz they say I've never been happier and no longer walk on eggshells, etc. I even had a conversation with him last week about not returning and he broke down and sobbed and begged me to change my mind and give him a chance. I'm very proud of him for staying sober this long but this has been a continual cycle with him forever. Does just staying separated for a couple years instead of filing for divorce work for some of you? I will always love him but no longer LIKE him. I'm afraid my feelings won't change. Am I fooling myself?? Any feedback is appreciated.
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