8 Ways Your Alcoholic Abuses The Marriage

I’m sure you’ve heard about how if a frog is put into boiling water it’ll jump out. But if the frog is put into cold water and it’s brought up to boiling the frog boils to death. In some ways the ways your alcoholic abuses the marriage is like that frog with the water being brought up to boiling.

Let’s look at some ways your alcoholic abuses the marriage.

Devotions to each other

It’s reasonable for you to want and even expect your alcoholic to have devotion to you. After all you want to be the object of his affection.

The problem with your alcoholic in this regard is where his devotion is placed. It’s focused on efforts to maintain the addiction.

If it isn’t the amount of household income spent on booze it’s inordinate time spent on alcohol use.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with families who have experienced extra marital affairs because of the lowered inhibitions and poor judgment brought on by alcohol.

Even when you understand how such a thing can happen it violates the sacred fidelity of marriage.

Your alcoholic may not actually have a physical relationship with another person but it is arguable the relationship to alcohol is indeed an affair.


Relationships require honesty. When you’ve expressed yourself and had promises given only to find your alcoholic doing quite the opposite trust is broken.

It’s not easy to rebuild trust.

When your alcoholic freely comes up with “I’m not drinking”, and you smell it one his or her breath or “I’ll do anything, just don’t leave me” only to find out they won’t read from the AA Big Book, Attend a meeting or get any type of counseling, it’s hard to find the honesty in the relationship.


As your alcoholic progresses in the illness the communication becomes more closed off. One of the reasons this happens is because emotions are very blunted by the alcohol.

Men often aren’t great communicators of emotions generally but when alcohol is involved it can become almost non existent.

Most women like a little romance and when your alcoholic is closed off there is almost no connection with what would make a romantic moment happen.


One of the criticisms I hear about intimacy is that often your alcoholic may interpret intimacy with sex. This especially when he’s intoxicated couldn’t be further from what is desired.

Intimacy takes the mutual sharing and caring about the person you both are at a given moment in time. When your alcoholic only recognizes the need to drink and get high there’s little opportunity for intimacy.


A primary need to most married couples is to have a sense of security.

When you don’t know from one day to the next if your alcoholic is going to be totally wasted, it’s hard to feel comfortable or secure about the situation.

Addiction to alcohol is expensive. When you try to plan for expenses only to find out the poor judgment and alcohol use has robbed you of money required for other essentials, insecurity becomes the norm.

Anticipating your needs

One of the strengths of a mature relationship is the ability of each partner to be able to anticipate each others needs.

When this occurs there’s a bond that’s emphasized.

What happens in your alcoholic’s situation is a predominance of alcohol and intoxication as the only apparent need while your needs simply go unmet.

Growth of the relationship

One of the expectations of marriage is that there will be growth in understanding each other.

You want to know what your spouse likes and dislikes, what brings happiness or sadness. The key here is it needs to be mutual.

You may find this all too often to be a one way street. Alcohol stunts the growth of relationships.

If you’ve found your situation in these eight points it may be time for you to talk to a FreeMyAddict Coach.

In what ways do you identify with the ways your alcoholic abuses the marriage. Share with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 14 Other People Thought...

  1. brigitte

    Wow! All the above is exactly what I go thru every single day of my life with the alcoholic. Its funny though as he is now living with his mom and the kids and I have moved out and he seems to put his mom above us and has more of a relationship with her than me and the kids. I don’t know if its because she drinks just as much as he does??

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      The ways your relationship is abused by your alcoholic isn’t easy to hear and it can even get you very upset. There’s hope in coming to an understanding about the truth. One thing you can know, your alcoholic’s bent on using alcohol and if his mom makes it easy to use and no pressure to quit it makes sense he finds it easier than working on your relationship. Thanks for your comment.

      • brigitte

        The problem here is he keeps telling me that he wants us back as a family and that he loves me but it seems to be only on his terms. I must do all the running around to see him and take the kids and go sleep over to go sleep over by him but he will not go the extra mile for us. He always has some excuse as to why he cannot come see us. His mother is always the reason apparently. He lies to me constantly and when confronted, he will get angry and defensive and make out like its me making something out of nothing. Even though it involves another woman and I’ve seen messages between them. Then he will send messages the next day being all sweet and telling me how much he loves me. Its soul destroying and confusing and I know that I should get this man out of my life but how? Must I go no contact? Problem is, we have kids

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        The decision to leave isn’t an easy one and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Of course the children will be affected. The question is how much are they being influenced by the current situation. Is it in their best interest to stay or not. We at FreeMyAddict don’t make these decisions because you need to. Either choice you make… We are here to support your decision. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Sue

    I can indentify with these 8 ways and how each affect our marriage. Identifying is one thing, being able to change the situation is quite another!

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      To admit the truth is a giant step toward change. From this awareness comes opportunity to set down boundaries and to determine what you may reasonably expect from your alcoholic. It may be a big step toward decisions that make a world of difference. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Married couples and partners also take on involuntary roles when living with an alcoholic. Numerous non-alcoholics go into denial about their partner’s addiction, or become afraid to confront the alcoholic in fear or losing them. The partner may then develop a high tolerance to the alcoholics odd behaviors. The partner will begin to feel depressed, confused, or even guilty. When both partners are alcoholics, they often are in denial of their problem and neither believe they are chemically dependent. A Non-alcoholic partner may develop something known as co-dependency, which means they have a people pleasing attitude, a need for approval, the inability to express anger correctly, and are terrified of abandonment (Straussner, 2004, p. 268-270). Adults and children often don’t see themselves in many of these discussed roles, which is why it’s extremely important for families to be a part of the alcoholics recovery process.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Well said. Thanks Bill for your comment

  4. Since drinking is so common in many cultures and the effects vary so widely from person to person, it’s not always easy to figure out where the line is between social drinking and problem drinking. The bottom line is how alcohol affects you. If your drinking is causing problems in your life, you have a drinking problem.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Myron, you’re point is well taken. From a personal point of view it’s very difficult to see the line. From a more clinical view it’s relatively straight forward. It’s evidenced by loss of control, continued use in spite of harm, drinking beyond intentions, increased tolerance to alcohol. These are just a few things we can understand that help us to know if someone is indeed alcoholic.

  5. Ellie

    While I never cheated on my husband with another person I had an affair with alcohol – probably even worse. I did all of the above, I am so ashamed I put my wonderful husband thru that. I haven’t been able to speak to him in 3 months. In that time I have admitted my problem, gone to a 28 day inpatient, done intensive outpatient, I’m currently in outpatient and I work the 12 steps of AA with my sponsor. I have 85 days sober. I don’t know if my husband has had enough and is ready to move on or if this is still tough love. Unfortunately I didn’t see the problem before the tough love was given to me. He’s not budging and I’m really afraid I’ve lost him. I love that man so much and from the help I have received, and finally being honest I am able to fight my alcoholism. I was given the prescription, it is no matter what I will not pick up. I can only hope that I have the chance to give that man the years I stole from him.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Alcohol does act like the lover and steals the relationship from your husband. The hurt is very similar and it takes time to heal. Building back trust is a key. Trust is most simply created by exhibiting consistent behavior over time. When you say something you follow up and do it. Your words become good as gold. Don’t make a rash promise you can’t keep. YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT to build trust. In time, he may come around. I hope and pray you stay sober and things work out.

  6. jojo

    so true.
    I haven’t gotten sexual intercourse from my husband for 20 plus years. Its really been a problem for 30 years.

    I sent him to a urologist to get tested for causes of E.D., because I was certain it was alcohol related. He came back and lied and said it wasn’t.
    I made a second appointment and went in with him. The physician said alcohol is causing the dysfunction and explained why.

    Its sad that my husband has had an affair with alcohol all these years and that my needs for love, intimacy, sexual intercourse, emotional intercourse, social intercourse…has not be provided for.

    All he cares about is when can he drink alcohol….

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Very true, Jojo. Thanks for your comment

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