My husband has always had what I consider a drinking problem, which I have talked to him about on multiple occasions, even with a brief stint in relationship counseling for a separate issue that made him quit for a few months. I used to drink moderately until we settled down and bought a house, figuring people party when they are younger but become more responsible as they grow up. Not only am I concerned about why he drinks this much, but also I am concerned about his absence and slurring of speech on a nightly basis, about how, pre-covid, he used to shut down the bars, about his drinking and driving, about the amount of money being spent, and about the lasting damage this drinking and smoking while drinking are causing to his body. I am in my early 30s and he is in his early 40s. Every time I bring up drinking he brushes it off or gaslights me like it isn’t a problem.
We both value physical fitness and the outdoors, but he has gained some weight and does not show any sign of wanting to work to get back in shape. I have tried to get him to do workouts or ride our bikes to no avail. I have also gained some weight, but I am getting back into working out at home. I have also come to notice he is quick to anger/has a very short fuse. I would never stay with someone who had a tendency for violence or abuse, but there are sides of him coming out during COVID that are not… the best. (I would never put my physical safety in jeopardy.) We haven’t had sex in months and I don’t really feel the urge to anymore. He doesn’t have any hobbies outside of being a workaholic.
The thing is this: He brought home a puppy last winter and I FELL IN LOVE. He is the sweetest little creature and he has me thinking… “Do I need a husband?” The dog provides me companionship, always wants to go outside and explore, and is incredibly easy to talk to. It is hard not to daydream about it being just us two. Is a dog all I needed to fulfill the companionship void I was looking for when I was dating?
I understand that COVID is a weird time and our usual outlets and activities (occasional date night, going to the movies, etc.) are out of the question, but I am starting to wonder if all of those things were convenient distractions and this is the essence of my husband. I am scared I really don’t like it. — Lone Wolf
You know what – yeah, you don’t need a husband. You certainly don’t need a husband who is an abusive, gaslighting, depressed drunk you don’t want to touch. You’ve tried counseling, you’ve tried talking to your husband about the issues you see – it hasn’t worked. The issues you have precede Covid; they’re not going to disappear once we’re past the pandemic. Your marriage is a pandemic. Get a divorce, get a dog, and if you ever want to get married again, by all means do it if the match is right—-but also do it because you want to and not because you need to. Because, yeah, you don’t need a husband. No one does.
What is your advice? I don’t know what to do. I’m not a heartbreaker. I’m not a cheater. But in this scenario it is all entirely my fault and the hearts of two completely innocent men are in the balance because of me and my selfishness. It is coming to the point that the guilt and overall negative emotions that I am experiencing from all of this are physically taking a toll on me. Please, I need help. Advise, please. — Guilt-Ridden Fiancée
Honestly, I’d end things with both men, get a dog, and see if you miss either man six months from now. My guess is not that only will you have likely moved on emotionally, but also that they will have too, and you’ll be so relieved you didn’t end up getting a husband when all you needed was a pet. If a dog isn’t right for you at the moment, try a cat or a new hobby. Either way, it sounds like you aren’t ready for marriage and are seeking a distraction (the other man). You’ve created a bit of drama around the idea that the hearts of both men hang in the balance and your decision will break one and spare the other, but the truth is everyone is going to be fine. Hearts break and they heal all the time. Your fiancé’s heart will heal much faster if it’s broken now rather than after you’ve been married a few years and then leave him – whether it’s for another man, a dog, or simply to be alone because you never should have married the guy in the first place and falling for someone else while you were engaged was a pretty big indicator of that.