Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Struggling with partners' afflictions

Community Member
My husband has been unemployed for 18 months. He has been on anti depressants for 3 years. He is far better mentally and emotionally now than he has been for years, but is still abusing alcohol and it (and the drugs) is affecting our intimacy in the worst way. After years of being strong and carrying the load I am starting to buckle under the weight of it all. And I'm getting angry. Most of the time I do my best to keep things positive and happy, but more often lately I'm frustrated, lonely and feeling more than a little out of control. I had a few counselling sessions with a psychologist and she suggested it was probably okay at this stage to practice a bit of tough love, but when I do speak out (or think about doing so) I feel like a witch. I can't talk to him about the intimacy issues because I feel like it will make it worse, but it's bothering me so much more than I'm letting on. And the reason I'm getting angry is because he seems to think everything is just perfect. Not that I don't want him to be happy. It's all I've wanted for years. I'd just prefer if he didn't seem so okay with no job, a sexless marriage and an alcohol problem. Sorry for the rant. It's my first time using a forum and it kind of poured out. I suppose I'm asking if I'm feeling like a normal person would given the circumstances. And what should I do?
5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hi Lyrebird

I been married 12 years and this Saturday he left me.

He has struggled with alcohol from losing his dad 6 years ago. I couldn’t get through to him our marriage was nearly over until he got better (well I thought he did)

the last 6 years have been the up and down. And he told me he doesnt love me anymore he has changed but tried to stick it out for the sake of the kids.

But all through this he has his moments of being a great husband and father but with that was bad times where if I called him out on it he would blame everything on me and that I was the problem.

Sorry I don’t have much advice except go to couple therapy and if he doesn’t want to go you have your answer that he is not willing to work on it.

You have to be honest with him.

Warm regard

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Lyrebird, thanks for posting your comment.

I can understand the frustration you are facing and approaching this by 'tough love' may or may not work, it didn't work for me, but everyone is different and it seems to be the last resort before communication is cut until help can be reinstalled.

I wonder whether any strong opinions can be like a way of pushing him away, I'm certainly not saying that this is happening, but if the mortgage is being paid, food on the table and all the other bills are being paid then he can happily sit back and drink without having any emotions.

Can a marriage survive without a physical connection, maybe for those who are suffering but not so for the partner/spouse who desires it, simply because alcohol has replaced this.

The circumstances for you aren't what you want and that's what your husband can't seem to understand but you need to keep your counselling going and there's no harm asking your psychologist about 'tough love' because it did push me away further.

Take care.


Being intimate may require him to think that he has to start to open up because of the closeness that happens from the two of you or that being intimate will automatically cure him, unfortunately, this doesn't happen.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Lyrebird

Welcome to the forum. Thank you for telling us your story. I am so sorry to hear how things have been going.

There are often problems in marriage when one person becomes depressed. It seems no matter what the other partner does the depressed half finds life difficult. Once the depression comes under some control life usually gets better but the addition of problems like alcohol can really mess things up. Sometimes being strong allows the other to forget they have obligations to the marriage, and not only intimacy issues although this should not be an obligation. It needs to be an expression of love and trust between the couple.

I know some antidepressants (AD) can reduce the libido which is an unfortunate side effect and one that can be discussed with the doctor and/or psychologist by you and your husband. Your husband's mental health has improved and he is enjoying feeling well, which is great. Unfortunately he has left all the hard work of family etc to you. This is not acceptable and you are now falling apart.

May I suggest you talk about the management of the home with him. Please leave the intimacy issues aside for the moment as this is probably the most emotive issue. Tell him how you believe he can contribute to the well being of your home. Include his drinking habits as I suspect this is the cause. It is hard to stop any addictive habit so he will deny he has a problem. You do need to point to occasions when alcohol has been a problem.

If you think this will be too stressful perhaps you can write him a letter explaining how you feel. Get it all down and spend some time on this. However you do need to be factual and state how his actions affect the home. I am presuming you have children. Tough love can be hard to give because you do not want to hurt him in any way. At the same time there is the anger that you are doing all the work while sits back and enjoys the benefits.

You can read the letter to him or ask him to read it. I know it's easy to say have a discussion afterwards but it will not be easy. He does need to know what is happening to you. I understand about feeling guilty because you have been used to carrying the load and he will probably be surprised that you are complaining. It has gone on for so long it doesn't appear strange to him. The longer you leave the worse it will get I suspect.

Oops, out of word allowance. Please write in again.


Community Member

Thanks for the kind words and support everyone. I remain utterly conflicted over what to do because I do love him and don't want to give up but besides being exhausted of the emotional turmoil I'm not sure what I can still do even if I have the energy. Perhaps joint counselling is the only thing. I've tried it before but he pushed back. Maybe it's time to insist. If anyone else who has been through this reads my post and has any way that they have overcome these challenges, I would be so grateful for the input.

Community Member
It's me again. Almost a year later. He got a job, things got better for a while but he's been stood down and it's right back to what it was. He gets up at 10, spends 4 hours on Facebook, has an afternoon nap and then it's press play and repeat with the alcohol again. I have never been so alone. He's hiding it now too. Filling spirit bottles with water, keeping half bottles of wine in the outside fridge, and if I go out (like I did today) I get home and he's trashed. What's making it worse now is that he's irrational, angry and argumentative when he drinks. And he's showing signs of early onset dementia (he's 59). Is there anything I can do to change this or am I just living in hope for nothing?