Is it time for me to leave?

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QUESTION:

Dear Kita,

My husband is giving me grief. He drinks heavily, comes home dead in the night. It’s been going on on and off for 2 years. I have been hoping the phase would pass but it’s getting worse. I have reported him to everyone so they can speak with him, but he only changes for 48 hours. I am tired. He loves me I know but that’s not enough.

I am broken. He’s making me extremely unhappy. Neighbours are talking about him and his late nights. Off and on he apologises and promises to stop. He is going through some stuff, so I make excuses for his behaviour but recently it has become unbearable. He has finance issues as I have been the sole provider for the family for a while. He also has family issues as his father cut him off (in a sense) when he married me. His father doesn’t approve of me. But all this also affects me. We quarrel, say some terrible things, I don’t think I have been this confused in all my adult life.

Should I continue to try to make it work or should I quit?

–  Dorothy, 38, Abuja, Nigeria.

 

ANSWERS (Opinion polls)

 

Only a very small percentage of relationships in this world started off with two people being horrible to each other.

Relationships always start off sweet, full of promises with the people involved doing everything possible to out charm one another. The challenge that we are faced with however, is being able to handle the things we find out about each other as we move along. Once reality sets, some people have the tendency to quickly make excused and throw in the towel. The effort which is required to keep the relationship alive which includes mutual respect, patience and tolerance gives way to complaints and unnecessary bickering. Anyone who embodies natural goodness can resuscitate any “drowning” relationship because according to the words of Mahatma Ghandi, we must make an effort to be the change we want to see in the world.

In this quick fix generation, people do not have the patience to mend broken things anymore. Others also choose to see the bad in others and in so doing, pass judgement, give up and move to the next person forgetting that we are all imperfect beings and that the grass is not always greener on the other side!

The truth is that no relationship is dead as long as there are two committed individuals willing to give it their best shot! My advise to you is this:

As long as mouth to mouth resuscitation has been proven to bring someone who has almost drowned back to life, same way you should make an effort to resuscitate any relationship you’re involved in before it sinks and also try to be that change you wish to see in the word.

Now, your question about leaving or staying with your husband is a heavy one. Don’t you by any chance feel that the frustration of not contributing much to the upkeep of the home pushes him to drink?

The problem we have as Africans is that we don’t believe in counselling and seeing a psychologist. Maybe he’s suffering from some kind of depression.

Don’t get stuck in this our mind set which dictates that a man must always carry the financial burdens in the family. I know it’s not easy for you but I’m also sure that’s the reason for couples being made to promise for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health till death. It’s for both man and woman knowing that life can really throw challenges at us sometimes.

You need to try a different approach and start asking him some deep questions. Ask him who he’s been hanging out with (and not as if you’ve been picking his bones). Just show you care and try to understand his struggles.

Peace out!

– Frank 44, Joburg, SA.

 

Well if the man changes for 48 hours it means he can change for longer. Some men drink because of boredom, maybe that’s his way of ‘easing out’… Get into routine with love, for example, my wife watches football with me and knows the big names in the round leather game. Another thing you can do is get him a hobby. Encourage him to do some exercise or or work out, then join him too. At least that way you get to spend more time with him and who knows you can win him over gradually while you both stay healthy I body and mind and keep a positive attitude. You need a good healthy mind to come out with positive results. Try these two solutions and maybe you will discover the real person behind your man. Goodluck!

– Chidi, 36, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

 

My dear, you are in a situation where you have to take a very tough stance. If you are in a relationship that has been giving you grief then in my opinion its best you let it go so that you do not lose your mind. I know it’s a tough decision to make, but seeing that you have tried to help him change without success, my dear, it is time for you to leave the toxic relationship.

If you had a good relationship with his family, you could have at least reached out to them to help him change, but that’s not the case. Kindly let go for your peace of mind.

-Fisayo, 34, Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

 

Your husband is an alcoholic/addict. Addiction is an illness. Addictions are usually hereditary, have no medicated cure but can be managed.

Would you leave him if he was diagnosed with a more “acceptable” illness?” If not, why would you leave him now?

My disclaimer: Before I go off sounding like i’m guilting you into staying, let me say this – please leave him ASAP if you’re being abused in anyway. If you feel unsafe, leave – even if your separation is only temporary.

Otherwise I challenge you to fight and win this battle on behalf of your family.

Some key points:

  1. Cause – you didn’t cause this. It’s not your fault that he drinks; it’s his personal battle.

2.  Control – you have no power over his desire to drink; but you can change how you respond to him.

3. Cure – addiction/alcoholism is an illness with no medicated cure but if he acknowledges his state and seeks help he can win by modifying his behaviour and eventually becoming clean.

There are support groups worldwide, so find one. Also there are many helpful resources online.

This is a good place to start, http://www.al-anon-sc.org/the-family-disease-of-alcoholism.html

I hope this helps.

– Wise chic, 44, Arizona, US

 

Stay married, cut him off financially, throw him out of the house, or involuntarily commit him to rehab or a hospital if the law allows. The difference here for me is they are married, for better or for worse.

If he’s drunk and unpleasant, and won’t stop, you can’t enable his behaviour. Change the locks.

– Adele, 37, Valence, France.

 

The husband should consider himself lucky because an angry woman is better than a quiet woman.

If you ask the man, he too will have something to say. Maybe his wife has offended him in some way, cos all men forgive, but a few men forget.

I think the man is killing her slowly so, if she still wants to be alive she should file for a divorce and move out of that house. And she should also take her kids if she has any.

-Niyi, 25, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria.

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