Friday, October 24, 2008
Prompt 35.2. Discuss a time when you doubted the strength of your relationship. /Couples Therapy
My wife is an alcoholic. This isn't anything new, and for a long time I thought it was up to me to dictate if she could or couldn't drink. I guess I thought if it wasn't a problem in our relationship it was her business, or her problem. I know that I never believed that it was so bad that it would affect her work or the kind of mother she was to Joe, or the kind of wife she was to me. Funny how much can change in such a short time...
When Abby and I got married we thought that we had finally conquered all of the obstacles that life had thrown in our way. We were so happy, and then I got that phonecall that changed everything. I know now that I couldn't not go to my father's side anymore then I could expect Abby to have left Joe behind to join me, so I have to be willing to accept partial responsibility for what happened even if I couldn't have known about any of it. Neither Abby or I expected that my father's illness would keep me in Croatia for six months, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her juggling work and caring for Joe alone, but, I still can't fully forgive what she did.
I've tried to understand how Abby thought drinking would help anything. I've tried to understand how she could put Joe's life in danger on more then one occasion because she was too drunk to realize what she was doing. I've tried to understand how she thought sleeping with her boss could change any of what was happening but, the truth is, I don't understand. There is a part of me that feels betrayed by her actions, another that is hurt, and yet another that is sickened by it, mostly though I'm confused. I had thought the vows we made to each other meant something, I know they did to me, maybe I was wrong. Maybe she saw things differently and while I was worrying about my father's health and whether he would live or die, she was looking for an escape.
When I came back to Chicago with my brother Niko, I saw it as a chance for Abby to finally get to know some of my family. Neither of us could have known that in those few days between when we left Croatia and when we arrived in Chicago, our father's condition would deteriorate, and we certainly never expected to hear that we had lost him. I naturally assumed that Abby would go back with us for the funeral, she was my wife after all. Was it wrong for me to think she should be at my side with my son? When she broke the news instead of her drinking and her decision to enter rehab, what was I supposed to say? No, she couldn't go? The rest of her news would come later, when her rehab was finished, and she joined Joe and I in Croatia. Unfortunately, what should have been a time for us to move closer instead added more distance.
I wish I could say we had worked everything out by the time we returned to Chicago, but, we hadn't, and in fact I made the decision to move out for a while we both tried to make sense of all that had happened. Eventually, we came to the decision that our marriage was worth saving but, in order to do that some changes would need to be made. Both Abby and I have quit our jobs, and we've made the decision to relocate to Boston, this is our chance to put everything behind us and start over. We can make our marriage work, I know we can, our vows were more then words on pieces of paper, and I'm determined to prove that to her, I can only trust that she feels the same way.