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The Typical Suffering of the Wife of an Addict

This painful letter was sent in to us by e-mail, and it is so typical of the suffering that wives of addicts go through. May it help us all to "Hit bottom while still on top".

the.guard Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dear Guard your Eyes,

My husband is 30 years old and we've been married for 8 years. For the last 7 years (perhaps even longer, I don’t know) he's been a Lust addict. I've caught him with newspapers, with a magazine, on the internet, acting out, etc. There have been many ups and downs over the years (mostly downs) and I'm slowly reaching a point of despair. I am so full of questions and doubts, and most of all I have no-one to talk to. We recently started therapy with someone local but I'm not sure he's an addictions therapist so I wonder if it will help.

We have 5 children (my baby is only 12 weeks old, the oldest is 7) so divorce will only be a completely last resort. What makes me so despairing is that I will never really know (or trust) my husband again. Most of the times when we are intimate his mind is elsewhere. He focuses only on his own needs, not on mine. It is reaching a point that we are both not really interested in each other anymore.

What also saddens me so much is that it is always ME (as the wife) who gets us help. Over the years, it was only when I found him out with another "something" that prompted us to go to a Rabbi or askan. It was only when I was in mid pregnancy (about 6 months ago) that thngs came to a head again – my husband ignored me for about 4 weeks straight and I confronted him about it – he admitted his guilt. I told him that if we don't seek help we are separating, so we started therapy. This is what bothers me – WHY WILL HE NEVER SEEK HELP on his own?? How will he ever become better if he doesn't really want to help himself???? He is always very remorseful and feels bad, but does he really mean it deep down?? How will I ever know?

And they all said the same thing to me… "it's all in your hands… it all depends on the wife.. .the wife can make or break a home etc." Well guess what – I'm fed up of it being up to me. I've tried enough, and it doesn't seem to work. I am now 3 months after my baby and don't yet want to be intimate with my husband. If I can't keep my husband from sinnng anyway, what seems to be the point?

Although as I mentioned before, my husband is very caring and helpful generally, he is very uncaring when it comes to being intimate. He hardly shows me affection, and hardly does what I ask (believe me I am not so demanding! even the basics!) I will always do what he wants. Then, he will tell me sincerely (while we are being intimate and at other times) that he loves me. What kind of lies is that? About a year ago we had a sincere discussion in which I asked him that it doesn't work for me without his showin me affection – he was very understanding and promised to change. Do you think the next time was any different?? Where were his sincere promises?? I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.

I am slowly falling apart. I have no-one to talk to. A part of me still loves my husband. We had a wonderful shonoh rishona and I hate him for throwing that away. He helps me alot and for that I am thankful, but a large part of me hates him. I hate what he's putting me through. I feel completely betrayed, used, the fifth wheel, the servant in the house. Why are we still together?

I have so many questions. How can a frum Yid, who davens 3 times a day and learns for a few hours each day behave like this?? What about the Kesuba? What about our 5 sweet children? I shudder to think with what thoughts they were created… Why Why Why? It breaks my heart – are we not told that to have erliche children they must be made with holy thoughts? A rebbe told my husband that with this behaviour he is throwing all his brochos into the dustbin – we are struggling financially and in other areas. How can he throw away my life, his life, and the children's life like that?? I feel so hopeless. I feel there is no life for me in this world nor in the next.

I don't understand anything anymore. I don't have any koach anymore. When I get into these low moods (like I am now) I stop functioning. I don't clean the house, and I barely look at my kids, nor my husband. I feel terrible about this as well. Sometimes I feel like going into bed and not waking up.