Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Is It Wise To Leave My Husband Doing this Uncertain Time?”

My husband, “Joe,” and I have 2-1/2-year-old. Joe has changed her diaper twice – both times in the hospital. He has never bathed her or prepared her a meal, and he has only put her to bed a handful of times, after I’ve asked. He also does not do housework at all unless I get upset. This is not the main problem though. We run a pub; it is leased in both our names. Obviously, with the pandemic, we have been told to close. Before this, we were on the back foot financially and have racked up a bit of debt. I worry because we borrowed from my sister and brother whom I don’t think we can pay back if we don’t recover from this.

Tonight I found out my husband has also been doing coke. I hate drugs of any kind and recently told staff I will sack them on the spot if I catch them using. There are rumors that one of our bartenders deals the stuff. I’ve mentioned to Joe that we should let him go if the rumors are true, and my husband has defended him. I now think it’s because he’s buying stuff from him, too. My question is: During this uncertain time is it wise leaving him and the business?

I should also add we have not had a regular physical relationship since our daughter was born. I am worried about the uncertainty of the time and a divorce, but I can’t live with a man who does something that could ruin us completely as well as doing something I hate. — Tough Spot

You definitely need to leave him as a romantic parter, asap. If you are in an area where you have not yet started quarantining/social distancing from people who live outside your family home, please reach out to family members who might let you and your child stay with them for the foreseeable future. (Realistically, it may be 6-8 weeks for many us before we are able to return to some normalcy and ease up on strict distancing restrictions.) If you can’t find a place for you and your child to go, ask your husband if he is able to go somewhere so you can have time apart to “re-evaluate your relationship.” (Don’t actually re-evaluate. Just plan on leaving him, period.)

If you are not able to separate physically from your husband right now and have to share a home with him during this time, at least keep your distance from him in the home as much as you are able to with the plan that as soon as you are able to, you will separate from him (whether that means your moving out or his moving out). As for your business, please seek guidance from an attorney who can advise you how to best protect yourself, financially and legally. Obviously, you absolutely cannot conduct business with your husband anymore. But beyond that, I don’t know enough to advise you on what getting out of a business partnership, especially under the circumstances, would entail. Good luck!

I’m 43 and have been with my husband for 24 years, married for 20. We have three teenagers together. Basically, for our entire marriage he has been chasing women for sex. He has paid for sex with escorts twice, and he arranged to meet another but then claimed he didn’t because he changed his mind. The last escort was 18 months ago. He has also admitted messaging women on adult chat sites. He had an affair with a woman I believe he really liked and only ended things because I found out about it.

We have both attended separate counselling sessions at my request, and he has been diagnosed with a sex addiction brought on by his want of attention. He was abondoned as a baby and adopted at age 5. This had resulted in his wanting to feel wanted. He has also told me that it started when our kids were little and he felt bored with life and didn’t like where his life and marriage were going. He has promised me he will never cheat again and assures me that he loves me and always has. However, my whole marriage feels like a lie and I can’t get the thought of him with other women out of my head. I want to forgive him, but I can’t. I feel like I wasn’t enough sexually for him. — Not Enough

 
The sex with other women wasn’t about sex and it wasn’t about you. It was about your husband and some massive shortcomings he has as a partner and as a person and a void inside himself he was desperate to fill (this is the root of all addiction). He may very well love you, but he probably doesn’t love himself, and because of that, he cannot be the kind of husband you need and deserve. None of that makes your marriage a “lie,” but it does mean that you have been let down in a number of ways, for many years. It is not your fault.

Your husband needs help. And you need distance from him while he gets help. I suggest you seek therapy independently with a goal of healing from the pain your marriage has caused. And until your husband can heal, too, you need to push the “pause” button on your marriage and consider how and when you might file to legally end it. If you are in an area affected by the virus and are or about to be under quarantine and not able to have physical distance from your husband, I will give you the same advice as the LW above: try to create as much distance within your shared home as you can. I know it’s hard, but it may help to re-frame your partnership as strictly a co-parenting one in which your shared common goal is guiding your children through this challenging time. When this time is over – and it will eventually be over — you can move ahead in separating in a true physical and, maybe, if you decide it’s the best route for you, a legal way. In the meantime, see if your therapist will do virtual sessions with you (in a room where you can shut the door and get some privacy).

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6 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sea Witch March 23, 2020, 9:36 am

    LW1: look at it this way – if you leave you’ll have just one (actual) baby to take care of instead of one actual baby and one huge adult-size baby.
    If he’s doing coke the business may go down the tubes anyway, so start separating your finances.

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  • avatar

    Gr8katch22 March 23, 2020, 12:42 pm

    LW1: Definitely talk to a divorce attorney, and they can guide you about your business. I would recommend you have a forensic accountant look at the books of your business; if he is doing drugs, he must be getting the money somewhere. I would also talk to your local law enforcement about your suspected drug dealing bartender, you are still part owner and if that is going on in your establishment it could bring trouble to your door. Start doing your research—look for a place to stay or live, look for a place to store your belongings, your jewelry and anything else to you need to keep safe that can be pawned or sold for cash. Talk to your attorney about bank accounts, line of credit’s, your home, 401K’s and anything else along this line. Talk to your family and friends to give them a heads up about what is going on – but only the ones who will keep your secret safe. Good luck to you and your daughter!

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  • avatar

    Helen March 23, 2020, 1:14 pm

    I’ve never known someone who “just” did coke. They always were doing other drugs, drinking, and usually screwing anyone that would let them. I’ve known a lot of drug users because I used to be one. Definitely investigate the finances. Do a credit check. Make sure he doesn’t have a bunch of credit cards you don’t know about. Separate your finances as much as you can during this crazy time. Talk with an attorney and make your plan.

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  • avatar

    Another Jen March 23, 2020, 3:23 pm

    So, here’s the thing, doing coke is an expensive hobby and that’s money he’s diverting away from your business and family. I’d be furious if my husband was snorting away our joint income at the same time as we were taking loans from family members and wracking up debt.

    It’s fine you don’t see his lack of helping with the baby and housework as the main problem, but they’re still pretty big deals if you ask me. What an asshole!

    Hope your area’s social-distancing situation is such that you can boot his ass out the door immediately. Sounds like the pub you lease will be empty for a while, maybe he can crash there.

    I’m sorry this is happening, LW. Good luck.

    AJ

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  • avatar

    Sea Witch March 23, 2020, 5:25 pm

    LW2 should get tested for STDs if she hasn’t done so already.

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  • avatar

    Sarah March 24, 2020, 7:11 am

    6-8 weeks?? Ok! Look at what’s happening in other parts of the world. Parts of China are still under lockdown and they’re having a second wave of outbreaks. Italy is on lockdown as well not looking like it’s going to Ease up anytime soon. The way trump is running things it looks like the US is going to have a much worse situation than most other countries.

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