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2 1/2 years of sobriety and relationship worse than ever

Old 02-08-2015, 11:04 PM
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2 1/2 years of sobriety and relationship worse than ever

I stayed in my marriage. Wanted him back after 2 years of separation and he got sober. 2 1/2 years of sobriety later, I am still wondering why I didn't move on. Things never got better after he became sober. In fact, he became more nasty. Our relationship is just the institution of a marriage, there's no feeling, no love, no sharing, just going through the day-to-day motions.

A year ago I started to really focus on myself and have been doing a lot of new things. Diligently working on a career transition that will be in place in another few months. I figured our relationship was in the trash I would just focus on myself and maybe RAH would get better dealing with his sobriety.

It seems I can't really just focus on myself and be with my RAH and not have a meaningful relationship. So periodically I would try to have meaningful interaction and it would just end in arguments between us or disappointed feelings for me.

We tried marriage counseling early on but still alcohol issues and early recovery so stopped that. Each went to counseling on our own. Helped me to feel better but no change with us relating. So finally I say I cannot live like this. One last try for marriage counseling otherwise I need out.

So we start back up with marriage counseling. Only been two sessions in last month and already I feel the stress. My jaw is so tight, my anxiety is sky high. I feel manipulated and invalidated and just taken for granted. I can't understand why it always seems I have to be the one to over and over express being grateful that RAH is not drinking but when it comes to me there's no recognition, no acceptance, no appreciation for how I did what I thought was the best for our family - separating from RAH when he was actively drinking, trying to bring him back into the family when he was sober, waiting patiently through early recovery. Not only is there no recognition or appreciation for this, I still get beat on the head by him (figuratively) and blamed for taking his family away from him.

How can I ever expect to have a relationship with a man who spends all his time at work or watching sports, tells me he is not attracted to me, expects me to maintain status quo of cooking his meals and tending to everything to make the household run, including kids activities, paying bills, planning any social or enjoyable activities - if not there are none or I just plan for myself, keeping schedules for everybody all without any meaningful conversation occurring between the two of us or feigned interest or anger when I try to discuss anything with him, no affection at all and him living in the basement.

What I am getting out of this relationship. It seems it is absolutely nothing accept not having to deal with getting a divorce because I have so many other things to deal with right now. I can't seem to even give marriage counseling a try as I am having a terrible reaction to just the couple of sessions we went to. Can it be it gets worse before it gets better or am I in denial of the truth.

Oh this is a big rant I just had to get out. Thanks for listening if anyone kept reading. I haven't been on in a while, at least not posting. I still look at other's posts once in a while and glad to see some of you are moving forward and taking care of yourself. So sorry for those just coming on the board wondering about staying with active A. It only gets worse and even with sobriety, recovery is a long road and not clear if actually occurs for both parties and repair of relationship damage takes even longer and maybe doesn't happen either.

Ok I must stop ranting now. Would love to hear from anyone about relationship repair or loving your RAH and being in a loving relationship with RAH again. Thanks.

Last edited by dancingnow; 02-08-2015 at 11:07 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:00 AM
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Let it out. This is a safe place. Sometimes you're just done. And sobriety doesn't always make people better. Sometimes they were jerks even before the drinking, and that's who you get when they dry out. It sounds like you know what to do, so I'm going to give you some hugs and tell you that you deserve happiness.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:33 AM
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Tne old saying....."When you dry out a horse thief, what you have is a sober horse thief" may be applicable.
Not all marriages can or should be saved. (some should have never taken place...lol.)

With my children's father (narcissistic personality), I drug him to marriage counseling. He went for a few sessions and dropped out (said that any problems were m y fault and that he shouldn't have to go). So, I went for another year as individual therapy for me.
Then, I got a divorce (3 young children and a professional job).

The children have long grown and that man, from what I have heard, has not changed even one molecule.

To me, the hassle of a divorce is minor to the misery of living in a loveless m arriage day in and day out. It is like a death by a thousand paper cuts.
This is my experience----marriages in a crisis or going through a "difficult patch" where the love (respect, trust, affection) is still intact, underneath...and both are equally motivated...marriage counseling can be very beneficial.
Otherwise...In my experience...when we have lost that loving feelin'....it is gone...it is over.
Like Humptey Dumpdey....

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Old 02-09-2015, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dancingnow View Post

How can I ever expect to have a relationship with a man who spends all his time at work or watching sports, tells me he is not attracted to me, expects me to maintain status quo of cooking his meals and tending to everything to make the household run, including kids activities, paying bills, planning any social or enjoyable activities - if not there are none or I just plan for myself, keeping schedules for everybody all without any meaningful conversation occurring between the two of us or feigned interest or anger when I try to discuss anything with him, no affection at all and him living in the basement.
I think you have answered your own question here.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:06 AM
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My RAH is 21 mo sober. I feel some of your frustrations. At one of our recent counseling sessions, our therapist (not me for once), informed H that he has figured out how to live without drinking and now it's time to figure out relationships sober.

Even an OK recovery takes forever. You have the right to leave and it sounds like you have done a lot of self work and preparation for it!
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:36 AM
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Hi dancingnow, I'm sorry for the predicament you find yourself in.

I can't offer you any great words of wisdom and I know there are people here who can offer more than me but I can share my experience that when I joined this forum still in contact with my axbf I thought that if only the alcohol would go away and be done forever then we would live happily ever after. However I think as dandylion says you can remove the alcohol from the equation but it doesn't always change what fundamental issues are there.

My x was jealous, controlling, manipulative, abusive- some of the things he has said and done are in my threads, some not. I hoped that if he stopped drinking and got into recovery then it would change, and you know what maybe it will and I won't be there to witness it, but I do know that recovery is a long hard process and I doubt that his personality will simply just become wonderful if the alcohol is removed from the equation. Like code job says it's not just about living without the drink it's about learning to have healthy, emotional relationships without the drink too- something they have stifled for so long with the addiction.

Yes the alcohol is a huge huge strain like people who haven't experienced it cannot begin to imagine but just removing that sometimes isn't enough which is maybe what I think you are experiencing and I am so very sorry for that.

When my x was sober for relatively good periods his attitude didn't change much- yes he could be loving, caring, say and do the right things but always like yours he blamed me, never fully took responsibility, it was always about HIM and his drinking and his battle and never about what it did to me or others around him. At some moments I felt like he did understand it but then later on his actions and words led me to believe he didn't, or did but maybe he didn't care.

I began to feel bitter and think when will it be about me, even just a little bit, when will I get some recognition for everything I have done for you, stood by you, everything I have endured. Why don't you care about my mental and physical health? Why I am researching and trying to help you when you would never do the same for me? And that's not a good or healthy place to be in.

It's a huge disappointment to see the alcohol removed but the same selfish person still resides underneath. Maybe this will go in time, you could wait it out longer, or you could decide that you have waited long enough, been through enough, you deserve better. Nobody but you can make that choice.

I left my x but was still in contact with him for months while he drank on and off, the rollercoaster continued, and I have only very recently cut contact. It hurts like hell, my mind is a complete mess but I have to keep reminding myself that hopefully this is short term and I have to endure this now but it's better than enduring a lifetime of being in a relationship with someone where I just feel like I don't matter, and even if I do for short periods of time that's not good enough. I want to matter, I want to be important to the person who claims to love me ALL the time not just on their terms. I think both you, and I, and all the people here who have been through such devastating experiences deserve that don't we?

Sending you strength and clarity x
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:31 AM
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my ex is not an alcoholic but his dad is the biggest ex-alcoholic ever. he even is a counselor in a dual diagnoses treatment center. He is such a crappy person that he once came to visit our church and the priest had to tell my ex that his dad was a jerk. fast forward and mine became horrible too, and he never really drank. just a garden variety narcissist. i had times i wished i had a label for him but it doesn't make a difference when they are horrible and mean. there was this way that he could look at me, say something so mean and chilling that it cut through all layers and never think twice. i feel amazing some days to not be near that and not have my kids near that, even when the divorce brought out the worst and was a long horrible process.

Just a heads up, mine lied through counseling and everything. usually small stuff so it wouldn't get him in trouble but enough to destabilize. i think we expect someone who gets sober to stop lying, but be aware and take care of yourself in this.
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:34 AM
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oops forgot an important note, when a relationship is unbalanced severely or abusive then couples counseling is actually NOT recommended. i caught the part where you said the stress was increasing with the counseling. i don't think that counselors are trained to look for abuse as much as they are trained to have each person take part of the blame and work together. so if you are feeling worse with counseling together then just be aware of that,
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:47 AM
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I think that equanamama makes some good points in regard to marriage counseling. In some cases...particularly with character disorders...it can actually be damaging.

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Old 02-09-2015, 07:46 AM
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Very good point, equanamama. Counseling when there's been abuse can be a form of revictimization.

You don't have an obligation to stay with him just because he's sober. People who aren't alcoholics in the first place can be jerks, too. You sound like you feel like a live-in maid, basically, and that's not a marriage.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:23 AM
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At the end of our days we don't get any special awards for staying in a miserable marriage, we just get a miserable life.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:24 AM
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It's true... I had an ex (my daughter's dad) who was just emotionally and mentally abusive and mean and angry all the time. He hid doing speed behind my back for about 3 years of that relationship, maybe more. And when he finally quit, he still had all of his bad behaviors. In fact, now he is married to a new woman and their chaos is 10 fold what it was for me and him. And when he and I had to go to mediation for custody issues.... HE LIED to the mediator and manipulated the whole thing! They are very very good at that! Please be careful...

Sounds to me like he should be working some other program too, like anger management... Or any program for that matter
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:53 AM
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Vent away, like someone else said, you are here, in a safe place!!

I remember when my X went to rehab. I expected so much. He stayed sober for a year. He was the same a$$ sober as he was drunk.

I stayed with him for years after that. I divorced last year. I was feeling just as you are. Anxiety. Despair. We tried marriage counseling. It was not productive.

There comes a time where you have to just realize that staying together is not always the right thing to do.

Hugs. We support you no matter what!
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:25 AM
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sweets, i would hazard a guess that after 2.5 years sober, what you see is what you get. he isn't going to wake up tomorrow miraculously transformed into a kind loving engaged partner.

as the saying goes - when people show us who they are, BELEIVE THEM. i personally wouldn't waste my precious time on someone who treats me like a second class citizen, or the hired help. this isn't a partnership....sounds more like cellmates who don't even like each other......
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for posting, DancingNow. It may feel like you're just ranting, but it's helpful for those of us in troubled relationships to hear what you say and maybe try to distinguish if alcohol is the only issue for us as well. Someone in an AlAnon meeting that I attended suggested that people think carefully about blaming everything on the drinking, because sometimes that's not the cause (or the only cause) of trouble.

Also, I can really relate to what you said about counseling making you feel worse. My AH and I went for a few months, and every time it made me feel worse. I felt like the therapist was coddling him, getting him to talk about how much my actions bother him rather than allowing me to talk about why I'm unhappy. I think she was doing "motivational interviewing," i.e. trying to get him to a place where he would recognize the value of therapy, but in the process she was making me furious.

Hang in there, and thanks for posting.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:27 PM
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I only know my own experience. In my 12th year of sobriety I got into a relationship with another recovering alcoholic who had no program; it turned into the worst relationship of my life. I had the foundation of AA and the 12 Steps and when I turned to Alanon I saw that what I called love was really just need. That it's much easier to put the focus on someone else than deal with my own character defects. That I was responsible for the misery I was in because I picked someone angry and abusive. I had lots of excuses for not leaving too. At the heart of my problem was low self-esteem, that I really didn't think I deserved anyone better. Recovery meant getting to the root of my problems, walking through the pain and leaving. Cognitive therapy helped a great deal. Good luck no matter what you decide.

Today I wouldn't pick any alcoholic if he channeled Bill Wilson (who was a big womanizer, by the way).
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:22 PM
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My soon to be XAH would have to turn into someone I've never met for me to want a life with him again. I won't go back to him while he's drinking (and boy is he) and at this point I don't even want the life we had before the drinking. I am not familiar with your story. Did you ever have a relationship without the drinking? I really like the drunk horse theif/sober horse theif analogy!
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:08 PM
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When you take away the fog that is active addiction from someone, what's left is their core. The core that the fog obscured. You now know what that core is, and it isn't pretty.

I hope you find peace, however possible.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:00 AM
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When I met my XAB. He had been divorced 2 years. He said that he was sober for 3 years when he met he's ex wife, but by the time they were coming home from their honeymoon he was on the plane thinking of ways to get out of it. I realize now that he was just a dry drunk. The big 50k wedding/party was over and now just the boredom of marriage and grown up life lay ahead. I got to experience the full relapse.

We read so many stories of the lives and families of A's restored after rehab/detox that we know that it can be done and we are sure that we are going to be one of the success stories. When it doesn't happen, we are crushed. That fog of addiction zozo77 mentioned not only obscures the core of the A from us, but it obscures the A from life. They have no clear picture of themselves and have failed to grow as people. All we can do is save ourselves and salvage the precious years we have left on this planet. It sounds like you are well on your way! Praying for you!
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Duckygirl1 View Post
That fog of addiction zozo77 mentioned not only obscures the core of the A from us, but it obscures the A from life. They have no clear picture of themselves and have failed to grow as people.
Duckygirl said a mouthful here, as did zoso in his post. I've seen this same lack of growth, lack of maturity and lack of concern/understanding in my A in many instances, too. Here are a few threads about my struggle with this:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...t-insight.html

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...t-knowing.html

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ke-inside.html

I hope you find something useful in there. I'd also like to remind you of something I've seen posted here many times--"Unacceptable behavior is unacceptable behavior, drunk or sober." Sobriety doesn't fix all problems, altho we like to tell ourselves it will...
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