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A boundary request I gave to WH - WS welcome to comment

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tigrislilium posted 4/28/2014 18:58 PM

My WH started drinking heavily about a year before the first A started. Alcohol was (and still is) a huge part of his acting both abusive and irresponsible.

We were just separated for 9 months, and we recently got back together to see if we could work things out.

I gave him a few requests that were VERY important to me in order to make me feel safe that he won't slide again. One of them was that he not drink alcohol while away from me, as it contributed mightily to his making selfish and thoughtless choices which hurt our entire family.

He often has to take clients out, so his job has him in situations where alcohol during "work" is a choice. He actually had OW1 out with him on several major client outings - whole weekends of HER meeting and hanging out with his clients, eating expensive food, staying in expensive hotels, wearing the jewelry and clothes he'd purchased for her... while I was home taking care of our child and worrying that he was safe. (I always wondered why they looked at me funny when I finally got to meet them - they were used to seeing WH with OW! CLASSY.) And, of course, vast amounts of alcohol were ALWAYS consumed...

And because alcohol was present during 90% of his cheating and/or damaging choices he made in the past, I don't think I'm out of line asking that he abstain from imbibing if I'm not around. It makes me feel extremely unsafe and disrespected to have him get drunk after all the cruel choices he made while in that condition not so long ago.

Well, he's acting like I'm asking him to give up AIR.

Is he an alcoholic? No doubt.
Is that an excuse? No way.

If he's trying to gain my trust and respect back, this should MATTER. As in: figure out why defending your "right" to drink alcohol is more important to you than defending my security after you took a giant smelly dump on it.

So: am I out of line for asking him to adhere to drinking alcohol ONLY when he's with me?

And gentlemen who are reading this, please help me understand: Honestly! Is it REALLY THAT HARD to tell other guys you're out with that you're not drinking tonight? My WH acts like he'd rather be drawn and quartered than say "no thanks". Is this a guy thing?

Tearsoflove posted 4/28/2014 19:01 PM

So: am I out of line for asking him to adhere to drinking alcohol ONLY when he's with me?

You're not out of line. You're entitled to set boundaries that will help you feel safe. Unfortunately, he has a choice whether or not he is going to live up to your boundaries or not. If he is, indeed, an alcoholic, I'd wager that he's not. What are you going to do if he doesn't?

Unagie posted 4/28/2014 19:04 PM

I began drinking heavily about a year before my A. I gave it up completely. I have not had a drink since September 2012. Its just that simple. When I go to bars with friends and people ask I say k live a sober life. I get a weird look and thats the end of it.

karmahappens posted 4/28/2014 19:27 PM

If he is an alcoholic and he acts abusive and or irresponsible while drinking , why is ok ever?

You need to feel safe. His drinking puts you and your marriage at risk. I would set a firm boundary that he needs to address it.

You or booze. ... what/who does he want more in his life?

knightsbff posted 4/28/2014 19:42 PM

I think no alcohol ever is a reasonable boundary. If he's an alcoholic it will be difficult for him to drink sometimes.

I would also,recommend he get some support to help him overcome his alcoholism. Is he in IC? Maybe IC could help him figure out why drinking is more important to him than making you feel safe.

bionicgal posted 4/28/2014 20:37 PM

My H is a light social drinker and also travels for work. Alcohol had no part in in his affair (although AP is an alcoholic) but I still asked him not to drink while out with other people. I asked this because one night when he was with me (very soon after dday) he had 2 pints of beer and got momentarily wistful about the AP. So, not safe. He has had zero problem sticking to my request or drinking a NA beer in front of the guys.

However, if your H is an alcoholic, that needs to be addressed anyway. It is not as easy for him not to drink.

dameia posted 4/28/2014 20:56 PM

I can really relate to this because I told my WH something similar.

All of my WH's A's occurred after heavy drinking. I don't think he is an alcoholic in the traditional sense. He doesn't crave it or feel like he needs it. But he does make incredibly bad decisions when drinking, his personality totally changes. I hate to be around him when he is drunk because he becomes such a horrible person.

WH also works in a field where there is a lot of travel and a lot of alcohol. The guidelines I gave him were:

One mixed drink or two total, all day.

So he can sit with his co-workers, hold onto a beer bottle and nurse it all night long. That way they don't give him a hard time about not drinking (because there are still a lot of people who do that), but I feel comfortable with it.

I don't know if that would work for you or your WH. Perhaps one is even too many. And that is fine! It's what you're comfortable with.

RidingHealingRd posted 4/28/2014 21:40 PM

My WH was a functioning alcoholic that spent years in denial. One of the 1st questions he asked MOW was, "Do you drink?" She did, as is evident with her 2 DUI's and one overnight stay in the jail due to public intoxication. His drinking increased while engaged in his A. I do not drink at all so I imagine he wanted to make sure that he had a drinking buddy with AP.

He had his last drink on Dday, 3 1/2 yrs ago. He wanted a second chance and this was one of the many conditions that I insisted on.

There was no way that I would be willing to continue on in a M with my WH if he was unwilling to change, and that change had to include becoming a sober individual.

My WH did not voice any objection. I watched as he endured major headaches, heart palpitations, and hand/leg tremors due to withdrawal.

Today, when he is presented with a situation where alcohol is being consumed he easily declines, why? He does not want to drink and does not find it a problem stating this.

Could it be that your WH does not want to decline alcohol while in the presence of his friends because he does not want to stop drinking?

I had a MC tell me (post Dday) that all the years I spent "telling/yelling/bitching" that he not drink were wasted. I should have left and let him witness the consequences of his behavior. My WH tells me that had I actually done that, he believes he would have stopped drinking. Who knows...if I could go back in time I would take the advice of that MC.

Without question, you are not out of line. You are within your rights to expect him to stop drinking completely.

Branca posted 4/28/2014 23:53 PM

My husband and I do not drink alcohol at all, so thankfully this isn't an issue that I have to deal with in my marriage. However, I have some close family members for whom alcohol is a problem. Under its influence they do things that hurt themselves and their loved ones. And often, I have to be involved in the rescue missions and the clean up missions. It's harrowing and I'm not even married to them.

Think about it: If he wants to choose alcohol over you and your feeling secure, is that ok with you? Are you willing to come in second place to alcohol?

If his friends are so insistent on him drinking, or if they would ridicule him for wanting to honour his marriage, what kind of friends are they? Will he choose pleasing them over pleasing you?

You are not out of line at all. Stick to your guns. His overreaction to your request must indicate something. Not sure what, but worth investigating.

BrokenButTrying posted 4/29/2014 03:11 AM

I'm a WW.

I rarely drink, once a year if that. Not sure why really, just never liked it much so I can't relate to that addiction.

But it seems to me that if he's an alcoholic then it's not ok for him to drink ever. He should be in a programme or rehab.

Your request is more than reasonable. A request that he never drink again and get treatment would also be reasonable.

He should be doing everything within his power to make you feel safe.

[This message edited by BrokenButTrying at 3:11 AM, April 29th (Tuesday)]

20WrongsVs1 posted 4/29/2014 06:35 AM

am I out of line for asking him to adhere to drinking alcohol ONLY when he's with me?

Are you out of line for asking? No. For demanding it as a condition of R? Completely reasonable!

Choosing when, where, and how much to drink, however, is solely his choice. You can accept it...or not.

[This message edited by 20WrongsVs1 at 8:31 AM, April 29th, 2014 (Tuesday)]

NaiveAgain posted 4/29/2014 07:42 AM

I think no alcohol ever is a reasonable boundary.
If he has an alcohol problem, then he not only needs to address the drinking, but he needs to address the mindset that goes along with addiction. This includes denial, entitlement, selfishness, and lying. Just stopping drinking may cause him to "white knuckle" and move to another addictive type substance or behavior.

He should be in counseling, and a 12 step program can help many (it isn't right for everyone, but it has saved lives).

Regardless of what he decides, you have the right to feel safe and secure in your relationship. You have to make some decisions here about what you are willing to deal with, how long you are willing to wait for him to "get it", and what you truly need from a relationship.


heforgotme posted 4/29/2014 08:25 AM

am I out of line for asking him to adhere to drinking alcohol ONLY when he's with me?

Absolutely not. FWH actually enacted this boundary FOR HIMSELF. I never asked him to, although I probably would have if he hadn't done it first. He says there was never a time that he was with AP that he wasn't drunk. So, while it's certainly no excuse, there's also certainly no reason to continue it.

Your WH should not only be willing, but eager to do this. If he can't do it himself, then he should get into a program. Even leaving the A out of it, it's not good for him (understatement) and it's only a matter of time before he says/does something stupid in front of clients (if he hasn't already....bringing the AP around and then having them meet you wasn't too bright).

Good luck. I would definitely stand firm on this one.

karmahappens posted 4/29/2014 09:07 AM

I do have to wonder though, does HE think he is an alcoholic?

If he doesn't he won't see your POV, not that you should change the boundary.

I do believe we cannot label someone else and until he hits his bottom he may not stop.

We cannot decide what someone else's bottom is....

somethingremorse posted 4/29/2014 10:30 AM

karmahappens brought up the exact point I was thinking. If your WS thinks he has a problem, then he can decide to get help. If he doesn't decide to get help, just "not drinking" is going to be a incomplete and temporary solution.

BUT, if not drinking at all is a problem, I agree with dameia. Work is the perfect place to nurse a drink or two. You entertain clients, but are still totally in control. I actually think that should be the goal. Most work settings are not "Mad Men." I have even used the excuse "I have some work to finish up tonight." That makes the client think I'm really dedicated to his issue.

TheBestMe posted 4/29/2014 14:29 PM

((tigrislilium)) My arms are holding your WH too. I hardly ever drank. Oh, I'd have a pina colatta or a rum and coke once in a blue moon. But, I have a food addiction that transferred to alcohol addiction. (You can PM for details).

WH started drinking heavily about a year before the first A started

Turning to a substance or any other unhealthy coping mechanism is a symptom of an underlining problem. He should seek to uncover the "why" and the "what" that causes him to soothe himself with alcohol.

You can not control his behavior. But, you can begin gaining some strength by getting some support for yourself. You can contact al-anon, or IC for yourself or a community program.

If he's trying to gain my trust and respect back, this should MATTER. As in: figure out why defending your "right" to drink alcohol is more important to you than defending my security after you took a giant smelly dump on it

I do not know your H's history. Does his family have addiction issues? Has he had other problems in the past with substances? There are answers to these questions that may help you understand why your H is struggling.

In order to get my head clear and to begin healing, I went into medical detox and am in recovery. Although I did not drink like a skid row drunk, I consumed more alcohol than I was ok with. Just stopping drinking cold turkey, may be hazardous. A person can have seizures and can die. Your H may have to undergo medical detox.

This journey through infidelity has pained me beyond anything I could imagine. This journey has taught me more than I could ever have imagined.

I wish you all the best.

Ailanthus posted 4/29/2014 14:53 PM

I too think you are perfectly within your rights to ask this. Your story reminds me of my own. While my XWH and I were in counseling, pre-affair confession, I asked him to stop drinking because I was scared of him when he was drunk. He could be violent--throwing things, breaking stuff, etc. He said "no" to that request. Later, of course, I found out he had begun his affair…when he was drunk. I think you have every right to demand safety in your relationship. and alcohol seems to me a small thing to relinquish in order to save a marriage.

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