Once supportive wife becomes abusive drinker

Published 8:14 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 28 years. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer. It was discovered because of a seizure I had at work. They put me in an ambulance, took me to the hospital and did a CT scan, which revealed my stage-4 cancer. Prior to this, my wife didn’t work, while I had a well-paying job. This instantly reversed for obvious reasons. 

My wife was extremely attentive. She started taking me to all my appointments and spent a lot of time with me in the hospital on her days off. This was about a six-month ordeal, and long story short, when I saw my doctors last week, they announced that after 35 radiation treatments and seven chemo treatments, they can no longer find any visual evidence of the cancer. I was so thrilled I cried.

Since then, my wife has been drinking heavily and getting angry with me just about every night. I don’t know what’s going on with her or what to do. She’s the best woman I’ve ever met, and I don’t want to lose her, but she’s starting to become violent. Could you give me some advice? – RECOVERING BUT CONFUSED

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DEAR RECOVERING: Your wife may be reacting to the trauma she suffered when you became ill, which meant she had to become the primary caregiver. This, however, does not excuse her excessive drinking and violent episodes. Of one thing I am certain: You MUST NOT allow the status quo to continue, regardless of how much you love her. She should be evaluated by her doctor to see if something is medically wrong with her. And the two of you need to get into counseling right away, and because she can’t handle her drinking, she may need to start rehab or join a self-help group. 


DEAR ABBY: My 22-year-old stepdaughter has been receiving very large Venmo payments into her bank account. I know this because my husband, her father, is also on the account and I have access to it. We have asked her several times where the money is coming from. The first time, she lied and said it was from dog walking. (She has a history of lying.) 

She has recently started claiming that her old “boyfriend” from four years ago – whom she broke up with because she found tons of photos of half-naked women on his phone – was sending her money. Abby, this isn’t $20 or even $100. It’s thousands of dollars EVERY month. Her ex was a delivery driver. No way can he make that much after-tax money. Where do you think she’s getting the money? I say sex, but my husband refuses to believe it. What should I do? – SUSPICIOUS IN TEXAS


DEAR SUSPICIOUS: I, too, suspect that your stepdaughter may be involved in something sex-related. She could be an escort, have found herself a sugar daddy, or be participating in a sex webcam show. She could also be involved in selling illegal drugs. 

Because your husband refuses to believe his daughter would do anything illicit, for the sake of your marriage, take a step back. Wait to see what transpires. His daughter is an adult and is responsible for making her own decisions. Because she has trouble telling the truth, there is nothing you can do to help.


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