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Does He Love Me?

Question:

My husband and I have been together for 28 years, married for 21. Throughout our relationship he has been a binge drinker with some mild to intense mood swings. The last ten years of our marriage it became apparent that things were not going well for us. He was finishing up the last three years of his military career and seemed to be drinking more often. We did seek therapy but he walked out when his drinking became part of the conversation.

He retired from the military in 07, we moved to a new state and he started a job he hated. He became increasingly agitated and angry, very depressed, often losing control and yelling. He did finally agree to therapy, as his moods were getting worse. He has since been to several different therapists, been on multiple medications, and fluctuating his moods from upbeat to angry and hostile. Most recent he was told he may have a mood disorder and given Abilify.

He is now angry and agitated with me. He is telling me he hasn’t loved me in ten years and wants to leave. I am devastated and believe that his feelings for me are actually a problem with his illness as he is very loving and very much into me when his moods are on the up.

I just don’t know what to do. I feel he is bipolar and his lack of feelings for me are associated with that but I can’t get him to see this.

Am I right in this or could it be true that he really has lost those feelings? Please help me understand….

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Answer:

It appears to me that your husband may have what is called a co-morbid condition. In other words, he has a serious alcohol problem along with mood swings. However, it is too soon to know whether he has a bipolar disorder, major depression or a depression brought on by his drinking. In any case, until he is treated for both depression and alcohol abuse, he is not going to get very far in terms of recovery.

To answer your question, it is not possible for you to know how your husband feels about you because his mind is clouded by both alcohol and some form of depression, whether it’s major depression, part of a bipolar disorder or depression in reaction to alcohol.

It seems to me that you are asking the wrong question. It is not a matter of whether your husband loves you or not but of whether you want to stay with him if he doesn’t get real help for his problems. As long as you stay with him without giving an ultimatum to stop drinking you are being co dependent which means that you make it too easy for him to drink. Why shouldn’t he drink? He has nothing to lose, or so he believes. You do not cause him to drink but, while he is secure with you around, he has no reason to stop. That is why it’s about time you started to think about your needs, your health and your happiness.

By the way, your husband needs to be seen by a psychiatrist and the VA is a good place for him to start. Today, there are medications to help him with both his drinking and depression while getting psychotherapy as well. It’s up to him. You need to think about you.

Best of Luck

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