Disappointed Newlywed.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My Husband and I have been married for almost two years now. As newly weds I expected to become annoyed with some of his habits that I didn’t notice before living together but there are a couple of things I just can’t live with any more. One, is his drinking habit, and two, his outrageous temper. He also has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression since he was a young boy so he is taking efexhor (spelling?).

When he drinks, he gets drunk. And its everyday or every other day. He can’t just enjoy one or two drinks in the evening to relax. He drinks 4,5,6,7…drinks and gets so drunk he passes out on the couch and crawls into bed sometimes around 2 or 3 in the morning. When I mention to him that he passed out on the couch the night before he doesn’t remember because he woke up in the bed thinking he slept there the whole night.

When we go out with friends he drinks until he is way past drunk and embarrasses me in front of everyone. (I have had numerous people ask me if he has a problem with alcohol after going out with us for an evening). I have talked to him about it pretty much every time (after he sobers up) he does it but he just doesn’t get it. He says he will be better but never changes anything. Whenever I try and talk to him he says at least I’m not an abusive drunk. That doesn’t change the fact that he abuses alcohol! I would say to just not have alcohol in the house anymore but I’m afraid it will make it worse when we do go out with friends. I’m afraid he will want to drink more since he isn’t able to drink all the time. I also enjoy having an occasional drink during the week but its just one glass of wine or one beer every other night or so. I just feel like he should have grown out of the college lifestyle by now. He is 23, almost 24, and about to start his career as a social worker. I would think that he would want to stop drinking carelessly once he starts his career.

Now the other problem I am having is dealing with his temper. It’s not when he drinks but it comes when we are doing something around the house. For example, changing door knobs, painting, changing light fixtures, etc… I realize it can be frustrating sometimes when it is taking a while or it doesn’t work with the first try but his temper is out of control in my opinion. He gets really angry at me and starts yelling “WHAT! WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT!!” When I’m not giving him any sort of look, I am trying to think of how to fix whatever it is we are working on. It has gotten so bad before, he has thrown our cat across the room because “he was in the way.” I feel like sometimes when he is in this mood he looks at me like I have the problem. I just try and say nothing so that he can calm down and we can get back to work. But even when I say nothing he gets angry at me and starts yelling. It’s almost like he over reacts to a lot of things. He also gets this way when our dog gets in his way while he is walking or if he stubs his toe. I realize that everyone may act different to stubbing a toe but he yells “F*** ME!!” and hits the wall and of course if I am looking at him he yells “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT!” and storms off. Like it is me that has the problem. If I stub my toe I may say ow and hold my toe for a second and then go on my merry way.

Is my husbands reaction normal? I feel like he over reacts to a lot of stuff and makes me feel bad in the mean time. After about an hour of him cooling down, I am still upset about him yelling at me but he is over it and wants to be lovey dovey with me like nothing happened. It is the combination of his drinking and outrageous reactions that is making me consider divorce already. I mean, I can’t imagine having children with him and them growing up with this “immaturity”. I have talked to him countless times about this in a calm manner but still nothing has changed. What can I do? Help!

A: You didn’t say if your husband was drinking and losing his temper before you married. If so, perhaps you thought you, or being married, could change him. If not, it must be a shock. Your husband is an alcoholic and has a serious anger management problem. Unfortunately, he isn’t going to change because you ask him or even beg him to. He has to find a reason to want to change. Apparently, your unhappiness with the situation isn’t enough of a reason for him.

You are absolutely right to be concerned about how he would manage the inevitable frustrations that come with children. In his current state, he would be a terrible role model and would likely lose it easily with kids.

You are young and not long married. You might want to reconsider whether you want a life that is organized around his drinking and that requires you to be always walking on eggshells. In the meantime, I do suggest you find the local Al-Anon meeting and get some good support and information. Their hotline number is 1 800 344 2666.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Feb 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Disappointed Newlywed.. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/02/09/disappointed-newlywed/