Leaving My Husband

Dear Sara,

I’ve been married to my husband for fifteen years. He’s funny and lovable but he’s also an alcoholic who stays out all night and cheats on me. I still love him but I don’t want to live with him anymore. We have two great kids ages thirteen and ten and they love their Dad a lot. I feel guilty but I really want a divorce. What can I do to make things easier for my kids?

Dear Lucy,

This will be a big change for your kids. However, at their ages, they may have already discovered their Dad’s problems even though they haven’t discussed it with you. Let them know that you have decided on a divorce and go to counseling with them if you feel it might be necessary. They don’t need to know details, they just need to know that you and their Dad can’t live together anymore and that you both still love them a lot.

Don’t make them choose between you and your husband and even if you are angry don’t badmouth him to your kids. This might make you feel better but it will only hurt them. Shared custody is good but only if he agrees to be sober when he is with them. Don’t let them in the car with him if he is drinking.

Good luck.


  1. I love it when folks come together and share opinions.
    Great website, continue the good work!

  2. I would like to suggest the Mom would go to some Ala-Non meetings to see how to best address her husband’s drinking issues. I would hope he would take charge of his life and realize what he’s losing by not addressing his drinking issues. As always, the kids will be the biggest losers in a divorce. The Mom and Dad both need counseling, they owe it to their children.

    • Hubby needs to go to counseling! If he is not willing to change his behavior, then she cannot change anything by going to alanon! I’ve been there for 50 years, it doesn’t change and I should have gotten out 40 years ago!!

  3. Kaitch Casey says:

    This is glib advice which is of little value. “Going to counseling” assumes there is money for it and that there are counsellors who have education, training and insight. Also, children of an alcoholic father who “cheats” and stays out all night can not be ” terrific”. How can a man be so irresponsible and hurtful to his family in this aspect alone.? Why is this woman still married to a man who stays out all night?

    How is she going to support her children is the question she should have been asked. Does she have enough money saved to allow her to live on her own? How does she know he is an alcoholic? If he is alcoholic he will not pay child support, because the majority of men do not who are Not alcoholics.

    Divorce is awful. Only those who have no knowledge of its financial implications think that “counseling” and lying to children about their father’s disease and irresponsibility is the answer to this very serious problem.

    Also, the comments about children being “terrible twos” and obnoxious as teenagers be use of body chemistry should not be relied upon. Much more valuable is the adage, ” people get the children they expect”.

  4. Solidspine says:

    If willing, AA can save his life

  5. May I add a few words about too much drinking?
    We should not forget this not related to any kind of mental weakness but a DISEASE by itself. So, before breaking your relations, I suggest to speak with him alone or with the help of some Alanon or, maybe better, Anonymous Alcoholic member.
    Sorry for the weakness of my english, but I may write you more if useful.
    May I add that my wife was having this DISEASE and that it was too late when I learnt more about this very difficult situation. Best regards. Jacques Brillot

  6. I concur — Alanon is the place for this. I would say go to meetings before splitting. Talk to the people who walk a s
    similar path.

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