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I Don't Love my Alcoholic/Verbally Abusive Husband Anymore. Is Withholding Sex a Part of Detaching from His Awfulness and Blame?

by karen

Very long marriage, 17 years. Husband is a closet drinker who has never sought treatment and swears he can cure himself but always drinks (he maintains that he doesn't), displaying drunken behaviors.

He is always asking me to have sex with him even when I tell him "No, you called me a "scumbag", "piece of shit", horrible wife yesterday!" He displays poor behaviors and says awful things in front of the kids. He wakes up the next day and acts like not a thing occurred and blames me when the kids are angry with him.

The husband says he has seen a psychiatrist for his depression of our marriage 3 times. I know for sure that he has not shared most of the truth with this psychiatrist because she would have recommended an alcohol treatment program, meds for anger outbursts, and intensive therapy for the underlying causes of his depression.

It has been an awful cycle over the past 10 years. I would always give in to sex with him and within a couple of days, if he asked for sex again and I said "no" he would abuse me verbally and emotionally. He also verbally abuses me in front of our children who now are aware of his drinking.

I have sought counseling but no matter what I have tried, he continues to maintain I am to blame, meaning over the past 10 years, my "neglect" or not enough sex has caused the marriage to fall apart. I know he is the cause.

What I am trying to tell him that our kids are the most important part and we need to behave like adults BUT all he goes back to is my "neglect". He refuses to change, stop verbally abusing, get into an alcoholic treatment program. I have repeatedly discussed divorce with him and he refuses to accept it.

I am trying to get a job and try to be able to have a more stable income, as I have been mostly a stay at home mother for almost 16 years. He hasn't changed and now my feelings are not loving and I hate the thought of him touching me. He feels I am ruining the kids life but I know he has done it on his own. I am a very loving, caring, and understanding person but he has pushed me so far over the years, I feel like I can't chance my emotional well being any longer and do not love him.

So what I am asking, is withholding sex from the alcoholic/abusive husband reasonable? What other steps can I take to get the husband to see that he is the cause of his own problems and the demise of the marriage? How can I get him to see how he is destroying our kids???


Hi Karen

You are not obliged to have sex with your husband just because you are his wife. If there is no love, connection, or you feel you're not being treated well - then it is your choice to not have sex with me. Don't let him manipulate you (something alcoholics are excellent at) into having sex with you if you don't want to.

All your husband is doing is shifting the blame onto you - because it allows him to continue drinking and deflect the attention from himself and his addiction. Again, just a form of manipulation. By making his drinking 'not his fault' - it also allows him to not have to take any form of responsibility for anything.

The thing is - you can't make someone see something they don't want to. So there really isn't much you can do to make your husband see that he is the cause of the state he finds himself in. And withholding sex isn't suddenly going to help him realise either.

There is no 'magic cure' to help an alcoholic come to the realisation that they are the cause of their own mess and that unless they become brutally honest with themselves and take total responsibility for their lives - nothing is going to change.

It usually takes reaching rock bottom for an alcoholic to get to the point where they're ready to change. But that 'bottom' is different for everyone and what it takes to reach that point changes from person to person. And some just never reach it ... and will simply die as drunks.

So eventually as the spouse/partner of an alcoholic - you have to accept you can't control what your husband does. He will simply continue drinking and abusing you, irrespective of what you say or do. In his mind, you provide him with a reason to drink, so as long as you're around it's likely that will continue.

I think it's time you leave your husband - for your own sake and his. You need to find peace, happiness and meaning again - and maybe the shock of you actually leaving him will help your husband reach his 'bottom' where he's ready to acknowledge his addiction and do something about it.

Because otherwise it seems very unlikely anything will ever change ...

All The Best

Comments for I Don't Love my Alcoholic/Verbally Abusive Husband Anymore. Is Withholding Sex a Part of Detaching from His Awfulness and Blame?

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Nov 19, 2011
Abusive alcoholic
by: Anonymous

My alcoholic husband is making decent money, I am waiting for my kids to finish college, and then it would be my pleasure to leave this stupid guy. I really cannot believe that I stayed with him for 22 years. He talks so dirty and mean, a day or two later he thinks nothing of it. I really wonder if there is a God. I quit my job a few years ago when he was making good money, but he thinks I am home doing nothing all day long. The stupid guy does not realize how much work there is with a 18 and 16 year old in addition to two big dogs. I am also the official driver of the house. I have a graduate degree, I could have done so much better for myself

Oct 25, 2011
married to a bullying alcoholic
by: Anonymous

I hear ya all. I've been married to my husband since I was 19. When we were 1st married, he did not drink and we were great. Children, health problems, and debt came along over the years and now for the past 10 years or so, he has been an increasingly heavy drinker. When he drinks, he gets irritable and verbally abusive. He's not usually physically abusive. He's very smart about not letting anyone on the outside know about how he really is. It's almost like he has a double personality. I really need to get out, but I am so scared! I am on disablity so I have a limited income and 3 kids to support. I just pray for strength to make it through each day.

Oct 19, 2011
damands of sex with an alcaholic husband
by: Anonymous

I live with an verbally abusive alcoholic husband. Clearly he has no respect for me and treats sex as a ' service' to his sexual needs rather than a loving act. I do therefore often refuse sex - particularly after he has binged.
This may be either because I now have little respect and love for him, or perhaps one way of keeping some control and self esteem in our miserable existance.
Either way not a good basis for any relationship.

Basically it is not a means to creating change, only leaving will do this for you - but until you are at that point, try not to let him further reduce your self respect -it is not your fault.

Aug 30, 2011
words of support for self preservation
by: Anna

Some words of support from a child, now adult, of an alcoholic. I begged my mother for years to leave my alcoholic father, she would not out of fear that she couldn't care for us without him. As a result I have repeated the co-dependant and enabling cycle many times in getting in to relationships with addicts. I realized as an adult that there are many types of programs for abused women with or without children; shelters (YWCA, etc), financial support (government assistance with job training including), Government medical programs. You have to look out for you and you have to take care of you. There is hope and there is help if you can find the inner strength to reach out. May peace and strength be with you. With love and respect from a fellow women.

Aug 28, 2011
In hell in texas
by: Anonymous

I have that book. Read it about a million times. Should have put it in the garbage years ago. It helped me, but he is still drinking. Good luck to you. My advise is get out now and don't wait 20 years in hell.

Aug 28, 2011
In hell in texas
by: Anonymous

My heart goes out to you. I am in the exact situation but, have been here 22 years. Have only worked part time so have no way to support myself. My two children are in college. I am stuck with no hope of getting out. If there is anyway you can do it. Get out! don't get stuck for 22 years.

Aug 01, 2011
Yes l need to talk
by: Anonymous

Dear Karen,

I have read your article on Alcoholic abusive husband.

Yes that is what l am going through now. Hell on earth, all the things you mentioned and more.

I have sent my husband away to get help. However speaking to him with glass in his hand telling me all the rubbish again he will try his best.

I just lost it and said I WILL NOT GO BACK TO HOW IT WAS, YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHO OR WHAT IS IMPORTANT !!! He then told me he wouldnt call again until he has sorted things out, and l am such a negative person.

Yes sounds so familiar well it is.

Apr 26, 2011
by: Anonymous

Completely agree we dont have the power to change anyone...Codepency is what you should read about...Copendency no more by melody beattie helped alot...She has a website with daily reminders...Alanon has been my livesaver...I refused pused alway fought but now i am so grateful...It will not be about him its about you....It huge empowerment and build your self esteem...U r NOT alone...It makes us think we r crazy, but Alanon meeting are the best...You dont have to talk just listen but the book and you can read when you need most...You learn alot about yourself how you enable how you control etc...very helpful...always a light at the end of the tunnel...Just believe!!!!

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