ASK CAROLINE: I'm married to a porn and drug addict

ASK CAROLINE: I’m married to a porn and drug addict

If you have a problem, email Caroline at [email protected] Caroline reads all your letters but regrets she cannot answer each one personally

I’m married to a porn and drug addict 

Q  My husband and I have been together for 23 years. When we met, a colleague warned me that he was very difficult and selfish. I should have listened. My husband has smoked marijuana since he was 15 and also has a porn addiction. 

Both of these habits have been pretty constant throughout our relationship. The porn was the cause of my first mental health breakdown: I stopped eating, couldn’t sleep and I barely held down my job – a pattern that has been repeated many times. He always promises to stop but soon returns to his old habits.

 I have not been happy in this relationship for a long time, but I stayed because my children loved him and I know what having divorced parents is like. My husband is very needy, has low self-esteem and low confidence but is very handsome and can be charming. He saw a psychologist for a short time but said he couldn’t afford it. We have also had very different views on the pandemic – he thinks it’s all nonsense and refused to be vaccinated. 

He has become someone I don’t know and don’t like anymore and I think that our children have lost all respect for him too. Eventually, I told him to leave but he kept coming to the house in tears, saying how much he loved us and that he’d been an idiot. I allowed him to move back in but I realise that all my feelings for him have died. I should never have let him return but I am worried about the upheaval for the children.

You deserve better than this. Of course you are worried about the children and, no, it is not great having divorced parents. However, for a child, having a parent who is very unhappy can be just as bad – plus, their father is essentially a drug addict. Your husband has been utterly selfish and undermined you throughout your marriage – choosing his addictions at huge cost to your mental health. 

I’m sure he will plead, but you say that you have no love left for him – so why would you want to spend the rest of your life in a loveless marriage? It will not be easy, and you and your children will need support. You say their feelings towards him have changed which, though desperately sad, is unsurprising. To feel as though you no longer love one of your parents is incredibly hard and very unsettling. Do contact adfam.org.uk which offers advice for the families of addicts. Your children could also find counselling through youngminds.org.uk. Your husband also needs help. Unfortunately, you can’t make him get it. 

However, you could say to him that for the sake of his children he really does need to change – because otherwise he will lose them. If he gets help and sticks to it, he might be able to salvage some sort of relationship with them in the future – even though his marriage to you is over. He should firstly see his GP. Mind.org.uk has a comprehensive list of organisations for addiction. Be kind to yourself and remember that porn is all about his weakness and not about any lack of desirability in you. 

 Redundancy has ruined our friendship  

Q A few months ago, my friend was made redundant from the company where we both worked for many years. She was devastated and has since been applying for new jobs but, at 56, she has had no success. The situation has really affected our friendship. We used to meet up outside work but now she keeps making excuses. When we have got together she has been pleasant, but there is an awkwardness. I know the job wasn’t quite so critical for her financially because her husband earns well, but I think she resents me being the one who was chosen to stay. I feel guilty that she lost her job while I’m still in work – and I miss her company too. How do I approach this?

A Unfortunately, even if we don’t need the money, redundancy can come as a blow to self-esteem. She might resent you a little, but it’s more likely she feels judged as less capable than you. You probably used to chat lots about work when you met outside the office, which has now changed. Sadly, a lot of people rely on their job for a sense of personal value, whereas it is only part of our identity. Our relationships with family and friends are just as important – as are hobbies and passions. She needs time to adjust. Keep reaching out, tell her you miss her and how important she is to you. Ask whether she feels depressed (common after redundancy) and needs any help. In time, encourage her to expand her horizons. This can be a chance to study or volunteer – to do something where she, not an employer, can decide her future.

 

 

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