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Dear Coleen: My husband is an alcoholic but said he will commit suicide if I leave him

Relationships By Mirror
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Dear Coleen

I’ve been with my husband for 17 years and we have two children aged nine and four.

We’ve both changed a lot during that period. I’ve put a lot of time into my children and home, trying to make it lovely for our family.

I’ve been working part-time to be there for the children, but now they are both at school and I’ve just qualified as a dog groomer, so I’m going to do this from home in our garage.

The thing is, I try so hard to stay positive, but I’m finding it so hard to cope with my husband’s constant mental abuse.

Nothing I do is ever right and he flies off the handle at the slightest thing. He drinks every single evening and gets through two or three bottles of vodka a week.

He has changed so much. He’s put on about five stone, which wouldn’t be that much of a problem if he were still nice to me.

He does nothing with our children – he’s never read a book to them or even pushed them in a pram when they were babies.

We haven’t had sex for five years – not even a kiss or cuddle.

He is so cold. I really want to leave him, but I have nowhere to go and he said he’d kill himself if I left. But what do I do? I just can’t take any more.

We own our own home, but I haven’t looked into where I’d stand financially. Any advice?

Coleen says

You can’t be held to ransom like this.

I hope he never harms himself but, if he did, it would not be your fault.

He hasn’t treated you well for years, nurtured your relationship or got involved with his kids. How does he expect you to feel?

Depression could be at the root of these changes in personality and lack of sex drive. I don’t know if you’ve ever discussed this possibility with him or suggested he seeks professional help, but it’s something worth considering.

It’s for him to sort out, though. You can’t force him to see his GP.

Coming back to you, the bottom line is, you want to leave. You seem sure it’s over for you and it’s not like you haven’t tried to make it work.

But it’s not easy to just walk out the door, especially if you feel you have nowhere to go.

Starting to take control of your life for the first time in years will give you strength, though. I know this from experience.

Start by getting legal and financial advice. And you need to start talking to your husband sensibly about the options.

Enlisting the help of a professional mediator might be a way forward.

Good luck.

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