Dear Dr. Archer,
I've been married for the past two years. When I first met my husband, he was this social, loving and super caring person who admitted that he smoked pot every now and then, as well as played video games now and then.
He was going through a difficult time, as his father had just passed away. We were from different countries, and eventually I decided to leave my house, life, job, family and friends to follow him and start my new future.
The moment we got married and moved into our flat, he became a person I no longer recognized. He started smoking pot slowly at first, and then progressively more and more. Now it has reached the point that he smokes from the morning until he goes to bed at night -- about 6 joints a day.
He manages his company from home, so he barely leaves the house. He'll shoot out a couple of emails in the morning and spends the rest of the day playing computer games or PlayStation games. There's no contact with reality!
He stopped going out with me and became emotionally abusive and started accusing me of everything. He swears, insults and puts me down more times than I can count. He blamed me for the fact that we don't have sex often, saying I'm not feminine enough and that I'm cold.
One day he broke a glass door because of his temper, and I had to rush him to the hospital for stitches. He gets upset for ridiculous reasons, explodes within seconds and at times, after it blows over, he apologizes and begs forgiveness. He switches from being angry to being pleasant so quickly I don't know what hit me!
I saw a therapist because I felt it was me doing something wrong, but after she saw us together in a session she said he would need to start therapy because his problem was not going to go away on its own.
He has an addiction and anger problem in addition to his sleep trouble. He goes to sleep at 5 a.m. because he's been playing PlayStation all night, and this lifestyle is becoming worse.
I finally got him to go to therapy and noticed he was calmer, more social, felt like going out and felt more like himself. After five sessions, he stopped going, saying he would go when he felt like it, I shouldn't try to change him and I should love him as he is. He mentioned that should I ever make him choose between his habits or me, he'd choose his life.
I think I should mention his sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has been on medication for the past eight years, although I don't know if this is genetic. I think he's going through a depression, and prefers to live in a fake world with fake emotions rather than deal with real issues.
I don't want to quit and I want to stand by him, but I don't see him willing to put any effort in this, and I don't know when enough is enough. For the last two months, we're on a break, because I needed to find myself again. I told him I will no longer put up with this, and that he needs to do something about his issues. I plan to go back to talk to him next week, but I see no hope!
Thank you for your time.
I can very well understand how you would need to take a break from this dysfunctional behavior. Since you've been away for awhile, I'm sure you've had quality time to think.
Now is the time for you to decide if you can keep tolerating this type of behavior or if you're finally ready for a change. Your husband knows how you feel, but it's time for action.
If you can no longer live like this, and most of us certainly could not, then tell him he must get rid of this addiction and start to live like a human being again. If he agrees, get involved in his recovery and be supportive; he'll need it.
If therapy was successful before, it can be, again, IF he's willing to go. However, keep in mind that he has already informed you that if he has to choose between how he lives his life now and you, he's choosing his life.
My #1 rule here: When someone tells you something about themselves, their life or their choices….believe them! If this is truly how he feels, it tells you just how much you mean to him.
If he refuses to work with you on this, then the ball is in your court. You'll be faced with a decision- make sure you decide what is best for you. What you're experiencing, Magy, is not normal behavior.
The only way for your husband to change is for him to want to change. If you give him an ultimatum, you must be willing to carry it through, so do not do so unless you are very serious about your intentions.
I realize this is tearing you up inside, Magy. It's not an easy situation, especially when the spouse/boyfriend doesn't view it as a problem at all. Therefore, you need to take a good look at yourself, what sort of life you want to lead, and decide if it can be done with your husband. I wish you much luck.