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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Our marriage is a wreck, we have been to marriage counseling

Resolved Question:

Our marriage is a wreck, we have been to marriage counseling which didn't help.
Recently my husband returned to self couseling and has been diganosed with Bipolar disorder. He will not talk to me about it as well as he continues to drink alchohol. I am seriously considering divorce. Am I over-reacting? What else can I do?
Thank you! Tina
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


I am sorry to hear that you are going through such a tough time with your marriage. It sounds like you are trying everything you can to help repair the marriage and keep it going.


Living with someone with a mental illness is extremely stressful. The expectations we have in our marriages often go by the wayside when our partners do things to hurt us like abusing alcohol. But with mental illness, there is a sense of helplessness because there is no direct cause and no one is at fault.


Is your husband willing to see his alcohol as a problem? Have you talked with his counselor about the situation to see if they have any insight?


If your husband does not see his alcohol use as a problem, then it will be difficult to get him treatment. He sounds as if he might be self medicating which might make it difficult for him to get sober.


You may want to try talking with him again and if you have not already shared your feelings about leaving the marriage, do so. He needs to understand where you are with the situation. See if he is willing to work on the marriage and try again. If you cannot get him to respond, you may want to consider a short separation before moving to divorce. Sometimes a short break will help get a new perspective and give partners a chance to work things out.


If you have not already, consider contacting NAMI for help. They are at You can also try contacting Al Non for support regarding your husband's alcohol use. They are at Both organizations can help you find ways to work with your husband to help him and your marriage.


There is also a few books that may help. One is called When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness by Rebecca Woolis. Another is The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness by David A. Karp. You can find these on or your local library may have them available.


I hope this has helped you,

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