Question: Dear Luise: I found your website and would like your advice.
I have been married for two years and have a one year-old daughter. My husband has been in a faith-based rehab for substance abuse for the past three months. I knew he had substance abuse issues in his past, but I was confident that he was finished with that chapter of his life. Sadly he relapsed when I was two months pregnant. I really don’t think he has been clean for more than a few months since we have been married. He is addicted to the opiate family of drugs. I confronted him and told him he had to get help or get out. Now, he is coming back this Monday and I don’t want him back. I honestly don’t think he has changed. I feel he completed the treatment for me and not himself. I have horrible memories of him passing out, bad temper, immaturity, lies, manipulation, minimization and all-together ridiculous behavior. He was even violent with me a few times. He has no respect from my family because of the situation he has put me in. His family is getting better, but for the most part are enablers. I am smart, have a career, honest and a very attractive lady. I am thirty years old and don’t know how to get rid of him. I don’t trust him. He has screwed me over too many times. I want him to be well for his own sake and our beautiful daughter’s sake, but I want him to move on. B.
Answer: Dear B. Well, your honesty is going to be tested, isn’t it? The only way out is to tell him the truth. Unfortunately, you told him to get help or get out. He followed through and now, when he is ready to return home triumphant, you’re no longer interested. What you said in your ultimatum was misleading. It implied that if he got help, he stayed.
There isn’t any way around it. Your husband has to know that you found his absence much more pleasant than his company and you don’t want to be involved any further in his recovery.
You are going to be criticized for being heartless and dishonest and he may relapse. If you’ve had it and you’re done, move on anyhow. You have that right. Your marriage was based on misinformation. You were naive and trusting.
Don’t let anyone shame you into a guilt-trip. Martyrs are a dime a dozen and worth about that much. If you stay “to be a nice person” you won’t be one for long. You’ll be miserable while trying to stuff it and your daughter will pay.
You made a mistake. You didn’t know what was ahead and thought love would conquer all. Addiction did. Stand tall and do what you know you need to do, if that’s your choice. Blessings, Luise