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Just separated from an alcoholic after 12 years

Community Member
Hi. I am going through a separation and have very few friends or family here to talk to and thought this might help. My ex and me have 2 children and have been together for 12 years. Our relationship was over about a year ago after I realised he was starting to get drunk every night, drunk around the kids,and not coming home after work ,he works in the restaurant industry so drinking and staying out is quite normal but not even telling me he wasn't home, he pretty much left me to take care of a baby and a 6 year old solo even while I was working and spending weekends alone. Not having family I was very depressed. We mutually decided to end things but as our lease didn't run out for another 6 months we decided to stay under the same roof until I moved back to NZ. It was tense but ok until I found out he had already started seeing other girls. Even though I knew it was over and know I am better off, I was so furious and kicked him out then realised he'd been taking money out of my savings to take girls on dates and go out drinking though this I can't proof. I am more than ready to move on, he suddenly wants to spend time with the kids after moving out which I don't completely trust him with his drinking. I just don't understand how a person could behave like this and feel so sad and angry and want him to get help but he doesn't see he has a problem. I want to cut him out of my life completely but it's very hard with the kids as they love their dad. So far I have thrown away his ring, removed his photos and taken him off Facebook but I just want to stop thinking about what he's done and focus on the kids.
7 Replies 7

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Rain

First of all apologies for the delay in our response, we have many messages to respond to.

Your current situation sounds really hard. When do you move back to New Zealand? Can you fast track this? Is your ex going to stay here?

It is great that you know you are ready to move on but you are still grieving the end of a 12 year relationship. Give yourself time to emotionally get over this, your ex will be doing this too but in his own way. His current strategy is not ideal but unfortunately it sounds like you need to be the more mature and responsible person for the sake of your kids.

Is your six year old in school? Either way, is there something different you and the baby can get up to during the day to distract you a bit? Like classes at the local library or talks at the local community centre?

It is so important that you look after your mental health during this time. Can you do some extra walks? Try to cook different meals? What about the contact with your family and friends at home? Can you increase the contact with them now so that its easier when you get back there?

Blue Jane

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Rain501,

What a shocking,sad and heartbreaking discovery. From experience I find alcohol gives them that dutch courage to be unfaithful or helps them to cope with it. My ex drank and cheated over the internet with different woman and I walked away, my heart sunk, but I did wat I needed to do.

My heart goes out to you. It's inexcusable. He should be mature enough to know you need help and support yet he's out there acting like a play boy while supposedly being a father & partner how irresponsible. Makes me angry.

You must be feeling all sorts of feelings and emotions...

Have you thought of gaining professional support, can be a real help at a time like this.

My sympathies.

Thank you for those words. I have since spoken to a councellor that is provided through work so this has really helped just having someone to speak too and put things in perspective a bit and not make me feel like a victim. I hate unloading on friends all the time so it is good to have someone unrelated to do this. Its getting easier but since hes moved out hes only had the children twice, both times he took them to his parents house so he doesnt seem to be able to or want to have them alone. His parents and I used to be in more contact but since I asked him to move out I havnt heard a word from them so I don't know what hes told them.I thought he might make more of an effort to keep in contact with them - a phone call, a visit before work ,something ,but it seems not, which is heartbreaking. The kids seem fine though they haven't even mentioned him in 2 weeks so theres not a huge difference for them I don't think. The fact that he wants to stay in Australia while we go back to NZ says a lot and I cant force him to want to be a dad. He just seems to want to have this single lifestyle which seems very unfair as I don't have that luxury not that I want too lead that kind of life.

I run a business which closes at the end of the year so I cant fast track going to NZ any sooner but it will be good to get back amongst family and friends and then it will really feel like I can move on away from him. My 5 year old hasn't started school yet but we do lots of great things together. I work full time from home so hes with me which works well. I'm finding this age so great and love spending time with the kids which makes me even more confused as to how some people can just walk away from all that. Whats more important than family! So thank you, I have gone from feeling furious and angry to beginning to accept things and feel stronger and looking forward to my new life without him.

Yes I agree. Some men just need to grow up and accept responsibility. Its not all about them once children come along or even before children. I know alcohol is a problem but I have a hard time feeling sympathy for men who opt out of being that partner/father to drink their problems away. Many woman cant afford to do that as they are the ones left holding the family together depressed or not. I'm sorry to hear you had a similar situation with drinking and girls. It is devastating but its good to hear you had the strength to walk away. You sound much better off. I should have done it much sooner instead waiting 12 years for him to figure out what's important and be a decent human being eg a good dad and supportive partner but realised it was never going to happen. Maybe this is what he needs to realise this and be a decent dad and perhaps get some help.

Community Member
Sorry I just realised the confusion about the kids ages. Our daughter was 6 when our son was born. She is now 10 he is 5 but that was when I noticed the problems start more and the time I found hardest without support when they were both so young. In hindsight I should have just gone it solo back then but now however with the children older I feel I have more the mental strength and confidence to do this. If id known about this website back then I think it would have been a great help to get me through some dark times and it is great to see so many people helping each other though the forums.

Community Member
I'm new to this whole thing. But I wanted to say, you are doing a great job and your kids are lucky to have someone to support them. I believe there's no changing people, they change when they want to (if ever). Just keep being the loving mother you are and I hope you feel like things look up soon! My dad was an alcoholic, he gave up for 10 years but started again recently. It is horrible thinking of waking up to broken items in the house and vomit in the sink as a kid. You're doing the right thing, trust yourself. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to reply. it must have been awful to grow up with a dad as an alcoholic. Do you still see him or have a good relationship with him? What age did you realise he had a problem? I just want to protect my kids from all that, they love their dad unconditionally at the moment and don't understand that he has a problem and I dread the day they become old enough to realise what hes really like but I keep hoping he'll do something about it and be a positive part of their lives but I can hope as much as I like but I know in the end that's up to him. It never got to the point where he would be passed out in vomit or abusive but there were times around the kids he could barely stand, stove left on all night, not coming home as he was passed out somewhere and having to clean up his mess in the toilet before the kids woke up. Writing all that makes me wonder why I put up with it for so long!