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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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My husband and I have been married for a little over a year.

Resolved Question:

My husband and I have been married for a little over a year. Every 6 weeks, he begins acting very unsettled. He doesn't want to stay at home, he rides the roads and drinks. His behavior ends up causing us to split up. We have split up about 6 times since we have been married. Once separated, he waits anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to contact me. He either finds me somewhere uptown, or sends me a sad email, and I always go back. This time, we have been separated for ten weeks. My friend and I were eating uptown, and he walks into the restaurant to pick up food, if he sees me uptown, he drives by several times. I do not understand him. I have been trying. I have been pregnant twice. He begs me for us to have a baby, and once I get pregnant, he starts acting in this same crazy way. He drinks a lot. He can never have just a few. He drinks and usually he always starts crying. Can you tell me what his deal is? I just do not get it.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.


Sad situation... but I am going to take the question into a different direction, and I apologize if this does not quite hit the mark for you. Unfortunately, your husband is an alcoholic/addict (I think you already get this, as you wrote about it pretty eloquently). I hate to frame it like this, but the question should be less about what his deal is, and more about what makes you keep allowing him back into your life. The traumas that may be lurking behind the scenes of your history seem to have set the table for a man to come in and be able to treat you this way. If you begin the process of healing yourself, his behavior will get less and less acceptable and you will not place yourself in the same situation again.

Listen, unless he bottoms out, it is pretty clear that he will continue to treat you this way. To protect yourself and to create some natural consequences, you may wish to set a boundary and tell him that treatment is necessary before you will even consider taking him back. And geez, it doesn't seem to matter what your circumstances are - even with you pregnant, he resorted to his same old same old.

That covers the alcoholic part of his presentation... but there seems more to the story. Is it possible that he is also harboring another relationship during the times you two are apart? It would be difficult for me to believe that a male on his own in the city would go for 6 to 10 weeks at a time without entertaining some form of relationship or related activity. Too, the time you are apart (I am just doing the math in my head) seems to be roughly the same as the time you are together... he may be doing to another woman the same as he is doing you.

The whole scenario doesn't feel right to me, and I know it doesn't feel right to you, so take steps to protect yourself from the embarrassment/anger/abandonment/shock/disgust, and whatever else you feel when you are trapped in his vortex. And please, hold off on having a baby until this has shaken out. No sense exposing another person to the madness - make sure your kiddo has a stable home!

I wish you well. You are stuck in a very delicate dance right now, and I urge you to get some help to change the tune. If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am not going back again. I am through with this. What would make any person act like this at his age..which is 27.. I have filed for divorce.

Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.

Hello again:

Hey, seriously, good for you. Subjecting yourself to his insanity has got to get embarrassing after awhile and wear away at your self esteem.

But your question is a great one: His behavior is driven by one (or both) of two possibilities. Either it is completely by his addiction - which is about more than just the dependency to alcohol to feel stable - it is also about interfering with intimacy, driving crazily-inappropriate thought patterns, possibly escalating ambient depression or anxiety, and leading him to choose partying over his wife.

The other possibility is that he suffered through an intense and persistent trauma very early in life which completely disrupted his ability to connect emotionally with another person. Therefore, when he married you, the emotional intensity set off alarm bells in his head which are making him nuts when he feels you are encroaching upon his protected bubble of emotional space. The only option is to flee for self-preservation (or so the distortion goes). Over time, he feels shame and emptiness (probably a constant companion of his, but more salient when he is indeed alone) which drives him back toward you. And so on, and so on.

More probably is a combo of both of the above options; he may drink a lot to cope with the pain he feels all the time inside. If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Than ks-

Dr. Steve

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