Husband’s detour into drug abuse may be grounds for divorce

Published 8:23 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for three years, together for eight. We have two kids together. Over the last year, he has changed a lot and has treated me very badly. He’s always frustrated with me, accusing me of not caring about him and things of that nature. He puts me down by saying I think I’m a good person but I’m not.
I noticed the changes in him and suspected he might be having an affair or using drugs. It turns out that he has been using drugs. I told him from the beginning that if he touched this certain drug, I would show him the door. He finally admitted the truth, but only because his older brother told me and he had no choice. He had a great job, which he quit after he refused a drug screen. I’m so upset and hurt by his lies and the drug abuse. He has been moved out for a little over a week now and hasn’t even asked about the kids. Do you think this is grounds for a divorce, or should I try to help him through his addiction and let him come back home? – ADDICT’S WIFE IN TEXAS

DEAR WIFE: Is your husband still jobless? Has he told you that he loves you and wants to come back? Is he willing to join a support group and get help for his addiction? If the answers are no, then please realize that the only person responsible for overcoming his addiction is himself, not you. And yes, I think this may be grounds for divorce – unless you want those children living under the same roof with a verbally abusive drug addict who shows no interest in them.
DEAR ABBY: I love my father, but I’m sick of trying so hard with him. When we used to spend time together, he would ignore me if I spoke but respond if my husband said the same thing right after me. If he did act like he heard me, he’d just grunt or act disinterested in what I said.
Now, if I try to contact him, he doesn’t answer my calls or texts, and I feel like I’m bothering him. If I don’t contact him, he tells everyone I “never call” and that I keep my kids from seeing him. Lately, he has been spreading a rumor that I went into his house and stole family items. His house has an alarm and stays locked up. (I also live several hundred miles away.)
He refuses counseling and denies any responsibility for conflicts in his relationships. I’m tired of the emotional anguish and games. My mom, who divorced him decades ago, wants me to keep trying because she cherished her relationship with her own now-deceased father so much. Do I honor my mother and keep trying? Or should I put my foot down and let my mother know I refuse to be abused this way? – CAN’T WIN IN TENNESSEE

DEAR CAN’T WIN: Your mother was smart enough to get away from your father, whose behavior is abusive. Explain to her (it’s surprising she hasn’t already noticed) that your relationship with him is diametrically opposed to the one she enjoyed with her own father. It’s unfortunate that the relationship you have with your dad isn’t healthy for you, and it certainly won’t benefit your children to see you treated the way he has been treating you. So if you’re asking my permission to keep your distance from your father, you have it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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